Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City is in hot water again — except this time, it’s not about budget shortfalls or issues with the NYPD. This time, it’s because he did something that is sure to earn the ire of kids across the city: he canceled snow days.
As New York City faces a snowstorm that could dump over a foot of snow across the concrete jungle, de Blasio came out hard and on Tuesday, December 15, said that snow days are a “thing of the past” because remote learning capabilities have made it so that there’s no reason teachers can’t reach their students — even if feet of snow separates them.
But de Blasio’s hollow words of comfort won’t do much for kids who just want to make a snowman, go sledding, and drink hot cocoa in what has otherwise been absolutely terrible. “I’m kind of sad for the kids on the one hand,” he said. “On the other hand, we’ve got a lot of learning that needs to be done and a lot of catching up.” Apparently, de Blasio hasn’t read the studies that find that snow days don’t actually have an effect on learning over time.
Kids across the city were outraged in score. When speaking to The Gothamist, one 11-year-old named Max Dobkin said, “I feel awful. Kids don’t deserve to have snow days ripped off for crappy remote learning!” Hear, hear! One fifth-grader with an exceptionally high level of emotional intelligence said, “It’s like we’re in a boiling pot of water and eventually we’re going to boil over. A lot of this is really stressful,” she added, in what might be the understatement of the century in a year where 35,000 New Yorkers have died of COVID. “A great way to relieve stress is a snow day.”
Other students speaking to the Gothamist appeared to simply suggest insurrection and revolution was the only answer. One high school senior simply told the publication that the students would take matters into their own hands.
When The New York Times got on the scene, they found much of the same sentiment from kids, and parents, alike. A Brooklyn parent named Sarah Allen who is going to take her four kids out of school regardless for their own snow day told the Grey Lady that, “this isn’t something that needs to be taken away from kids who have already lost a lot, ranging from not being able to see friends to losing parents to COVID.” One dad with middle-school-aged children said that he was going to take his kids out of class no matter what. He’s even threatened to force them to play outside by cutting off the WiFi.
As for De Blasio, while the move does seem to be fairly categorically unpopular among some parents and their school-aged children, he isn’t doing anything that numerous other cities and states have already said they would do. Many schools are using remote learning capabilities as a chance to get rid of snow days for good — even though there are some school districts that have taken a stand to preserve the days of fun for the kids.
And of course, it’s worth noting that snow days are enjoyed differently by people of different socioeconomic classes and family arrangements. Single parents working from home might find snow days to be a drag, and working parents who aren’t working in the home can struggle to find paid child care arrangements for their students. But even though that is true, remote learning isn’t a functioning child care arrangement, and those parents will have to supervise their children regardless, as they sit inside and watch the snowfall out of the windows.