LAMENT FOR THE
We know not exactly when the first snow day
in public school history occurred — but we
do know the day in which the tradition of
canceling classes because of snowfall died.
It happened Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020.
For on that day, New York’s Department of Education
announced that public school buildings would be
closed the next day due to an impending snowstorm —
but that all classes would go on anyway through remote
The announcement came in a roughly 51-word email
sent to parents and school officials on Dec. 16. And
though it’s not yet official, it seemed to mark the end
of a decades-old tradition of an off-day for young New
Yorkers whenever a big snowstorm converged upon our
No, Virginia, there isn’t a snow day anymore. And
you can blame this on the COVID-19 pandemic, too.
We’ve had the technology to conduct remote learning
for years now with the advent of computers, broadband
internet and high-tech cameras. But it was never
fully utilized by public schools until COVID-19 arrived
in New York back in March, and the schools were
promptly shut down.
There was no way the city would allow students
to remain home for the remainder of the school year
without an education, so the Department of Education
adapted on the fly. Teachers and students made use of
the gear they had to shift classes online.
But most everyone involved in education — teachers,
parents, elected officials, even students — has come
to one conclusion about remote learning: It is absolutely
no substitute for a classroom education.
And while students and teachers will return to the
classrooms soon enough, there’s one thing that won’t:
the snow day. Because with an announcement and the
flick of a few keyboards, the classes can go on even in
the middle of a blizzard.
Every bit of progress indeed comes with cost, and so
it seems the snow day is the victim of progress. Some
parents may rebel and let their kids enjoy the fun anyway.
Days of hooky, virtual or in person, are still absences
in the city’s book.
But we feel sad for the future generations of students
deprived of the thrill of a “school’s closed” announcement,
and carefree weekdays of sledding, snow angels
and snowball fights.
Now it’s just another day at a desk.
HOW TO REACH US
TIMESLEDGER | QNS.18 COM | DEC. 25-DEC. 31, 2020
SOME BUS LANE QUALMS ARE OFF-BASE
While some of Councilman I.
Daneek Miller’s disagreements
with the NYC Dept. of Transportation
over the Merrick
Boulevard bus lane project may
have validity, on other points I
believe that he is off-base.
First, Merrick Boulevard
belongs to all the residents of
Queens and not just businesses
or property owners there or
residents of the 27th Council
District. In deciding how to allocate
very valuable street and
curb space among many different
users and needs, NYC DOT
must consider the wider audience
of users and not just local
Second, bus lanes move
many more people than regular
traffic lanes and ensuring that
they are free of illegally parked
or stopped vehicles for 16 or so
hours a day, seven days a week
is critical for shortening travel
times and improving transit in
If Councilman Miller is serious
about improving mobility
in his district, he needs to
get on board for bus lanes and
other transit improvements in
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The implementation of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to the end of snow days as we
know it. Photo by Gabriele Holtermann