New York City public schools cancel snow days, citing the success of remote learning during the pandemic

New York City public schools cancel snow days. In this image, school buses are covered in snow during a snowstorm in Brooklyn, New York. - Wong Maye-E/AP

Originally Published: 08 MAY 21 05:01 ET

Updated: 08 MAY 21 07:59 ET

By Alaa Elassar, CNN

    (CNN) -- The joy of snow days is no more for New York City public school students.

Instead of building snowmen and finding little hills to sled down, students in grades K-12 will be expected to log onto their digital devices for classes -- a change attributed to the success of remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

The New York City public school system, the largest school district in the country, announced the change in its 2021-2022 School Year Calendar.

"On 'Snow days' or days when school buildings are closed due to an emergency, all students and families should plan on participating in remote learning," the New York City Department of Education said in a statement.

Many New York City schools successfully transitioned from in-person classes to remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic, showing that students could continue their education removed from classrooms if needed, said Danielle Filson, NYCDOE spokeswoman.

"In order to meet the New York State mandate of 180 in session school days, rather than cut into spring break, religious observances, or the already short and much-needed summer, we will pivot to remote learning days during rare instances when schools close due to inclement weather," Filson told CNN.

"We are sad for a year without snow days," Filson said, "but we must meet the state mandate and we can leverage the technology we invested in during the pandemic so our students get the instructional days required by the state."

The department and its schools distributed "hundreds of thousands of devices" to students during the pandemic to help them learn remotely, Filson said, which will make it easier to quickly transition back to online learning on snow days.

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