With snowstorm arriving, New York City public schools switch to remote learning for Thursday

‘Snow’ much for the snow day in New York City.
File photo

It’s the end of the snow day as we know it.

With New York City expected to be hit with up to a foot of snow between tonight and Thursday morning, the city’s Department of Education announced that all public school buildings will be closed on Dec. 17.

But that doesn’t mean public school students get a day off to warm themselves by the glow of a television and a cup of soup after sledding and snowball fights — as all classes will automatically switch over to remote learning.

“Due to expected severe weather conditions, all New York City district school buildings will be closed Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020,” according to the brief DOE statement issued Wednesday afternoon. “After-school programs, adult education, and YABC programs are also cancelled. All takeout and community meal operations will be closed. While school buildings are closed, instruction will continue remotely for all students.”

The switch to remote learning was made easy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes first shifted from in-person to remote learning not long after the virus took hold in the city back in March. After finishing the school year remotely, New York City public schools reopened in late September with students either working remotely or attending in-person classes part-time on a “blended model.”

In November, after the 7-day COVID-19 positivity rate in New York City hit 3%, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered the public schools closed. The decision proved controversial amid reports that the COVID-19 infection rate in most public schools was far lower than the citywide rate.

On Dec. 7, elementary schools were reopened to students; middle and high school students remain on remote learning as the city DOE works on a reopening plan for them, as COVID-19 infection rates have been higher in the upper grades.

Moreover, the city has been working to bring more students back to the classroom due to the increased safety within classrooms. While discussing a possible post-Christmas shutdown of the city due to the pandemic’s second wave, de Blasio indicated at a Tuesday press conference that public schools might be exempt from it.

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