Let It Snow

New York City schools tried remote learning on a snow day.
Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images News/Getty Images

NYC Public Schools Tried Remote Learning On A Snow Day & It Did Not Go Well

“I don’t think that we passed this test.”

Tuesday was a cold, snowy day in New York City. The kind of day that makes a person want to hunker down under the covers and retreat from the world if they’re able. Or if you’re a kid, maybe put on a snowsuit and head outside to build a snowman with your friends. Which technically should have been possible since Tuesday was a snow day and schools were closed in New York City due to the weather. Unfortunately for kids and teachers and parents and tech support, this was the day that New York City public schools launched a remote learning test after officially canceling snow days in 2022. And it did not go well at all.

New York City’s public schools chancellor David Banks held a press conference on Tuesday to share an update about the remote learning test the school board had implemented for the first time for a snow day. They did not pass the test.

“As I said, this was a test. I don’t think that we passed this test,” Banks said during a news briefing, per NBC News, going on to admit that he was “disappointed, frustrated, and angry” about all of the technical issues that made it difficult for parents and students to log on. IBM, the company responsible for facilitating the city’s remote learning program which serves 1.1 million students in 1,800 schools, was reportedly overwhelmed with the amount of people signing on at once.

The idea of canceling snow days in favor of moving students to remote learning was already a controversial concept for many parents, and this failed test has them doubling down with their original point. That kids should be allowed to enjoy snow days.

One person thought that the overwhelmed servers should be seen as “sweet justice.”

Now, it is important to note that there are many families who do not have the benefit of really enjoying a snow day together. The prohibitive cost of day care, work schedules... it’s a lot to try to juggle, particularly at the last minute. But asking parents to do remote learning with their children doesn’t really solve that issue.

And for families who are able to actually enjoy the benefits of a surprise day off due to snow, it can be an important exercise in memory building.

While this unpopular test turned out to be a failure, the NYC public school board still plans to continue remote learning on snow days. “We’ll work hard to do better next time,” Banks told reporters. As for parents who are frustrated with the loss of snow days for their children, NYC Mayor Eric Adams told NBC News, “That is not the energy we should be showing right now, our children have to catch up, they need to be engaged.”