No snow days in NYC amid pandemic: Classes go all remote Thursday at public schools

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York City public schools were closed Thursday because of a winter storm that dumped as much as a foot of snow in some parts of the city.

But kids won't be able to enjoy a traditional snow day as in years' past.

While in-person learning is canceled, classes will continue to be held remotely Thursday.

"I know we all grew up with the excitement of snow days, but this year is different," Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted as he announced Thursday would be a full remote learning day for the city's school kids.

"All students will learn remotely, and are expected to log on and engage with their work from home as they do on other remote days," the city's Department of Education tweeted Wednesday afternoon, adding that all Meal Hubs will also be closed.

Public schools will reopen Friday for in-person learning.

De Blasio and the schools chancellor had said on Tuesday that there won't be any snow days this year for New York City schools if buildings are forced to close because of winter weather.

They said learning would shift to all-remote if there's a major snow event.

"As we head into winter, it’s likely we will have inclement weather that in an ordinary year would cause all @NYCSchools to close for teaching and learning. This year, if weather demands that school buildings close, all schools will still be in session remotely on that day," Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza tweeted.

School districts across New York have been having discussions around whether the advent of remote learning will spell the end of the traditional snow day.

"I think everybody recognizes that there is magic associated with a snow day when you're a child and we've been discussing how best to approach this scenario and I think it's going to be different in every community," said White Plains School Superintendent Joseph Ricca, who is also president of the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents.

His feeling is to keep snow days, but if there are too many piling up that might eat away at spring break, keep the remote option in the back pocket.

As for this week's storm, Ricca says, "If we need to, if it comes as predicted, in the White Plains school district we are going to have a traditional snow day."

"That means that the children can go outside and play," he said. They don't have to log onto their devices, they don't have to check their emails."

All Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of New York will also have a snow day Thursday.

The superintendent of schools says there will be no online instruction and all school buildings will be closed.

Archdiocese high schools operate independently, so high school families need to follow instructions from their individual schools.

Archdiocese schools serve nearly 60,000 students in 10 counties and New York City.