One of the most joyous announcements of childhood—"Snow day!"—will not be heard in New York City next winter. Starting next school year, when snow falls or school buildings are closed because of an emergency, students are to stay home and return to remote learning, the BBC reports. Officials didn't say whether snow days could return, but they were stopped last September, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. "We are sad for a year without snow days," a district spokeswoman said, per CNN. But to meet state requirements, "rather than cut into spring break, religious observances, or the already short and much-needed summer," she said, "we will pivot to remote learning days." The district pointed out that it has distributed hundreds of thousands of devices to students to help with remote learning during the pandemic. Mayor Bill de Blasio has called seven snow days in his five years as mayor.
"It seems like callousness bordering on cruelty to scrap one of childhood's greatest pleasures in favor of a rehash of pandemic life," Michelle Goldberg writes in an opinion piece in the New York Times. Parents and children who were looking forward to move past remote learning now will have it hanging over their heads again, she said. Schools are replacing a "the beauty of a snow day," Goldberg wrote, with online work with the goal of not falling further behind for children who could use a chance to make good memories about now. The decision was unpopular on social media. "One of the few moments of complete surprise excitement kids get, and they’re gonna ruin it," a tweet said. Another said Internet issues are a problem even when snow doesn't fall. One post described being in a grocery when the announcement was made over the store radio that school was canceled. "Everyone, even the adults, gave a simultaneous unintentional whoop of joy," the post said. (For one day, a district did the opposite.)