Will there be another snow day?

No remote education without electricity

snow dayI found this article, from the New York Times, I think, oddly sad. New York City announced back in August or September that its school system would not allow snow days this year. They would instead require students to learn from home. “The change could be the beginning of the end for the snow day as we know it.”

Yes, I understand that “schools that lost instructional time during the pandemic are desperate not to lose any more.” And sure, “both teachers and students are now far more familiar with virtual learning. So it’s easy to imagine how snow days will turn into virtual-learning days even after the pandemic ends.” I did not know that “some snow-prone states, like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, have given districts this option for several years.”

Here’s the crux of the matter. “Is it a good idea? Opponents of snow days point to the pressure they put on working parents, as well as the problem of missed meals for low-income students. Of course, a virtual-learning day does little to solve either of those issues. And snow days are one of the great spontaneous joys of childhood. They are a ‘pause on real life and a chance to let kids be kids.'”

Mother Nature

Thus, I took some peculiar fascination from a brief but violent storm rushing through our area on the afternoon of October 7. Torrential rain, and winds so severe that I had to lean on the door with all my weight to close it around 4 pm. It was an unexpectedly severe weather event. I was glad my wife and daughter were home.

Even the next day, the power outages, which affected at least 160,000 in the area at its peak, were largely unresolved. This was the worst problem since Hurricane Irene in 2011. Many school districts were closed in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties NY. While a couple attempted a remote learning day, most did not. It’s because the schools and/or their students could not log in to the Internet.

Both my wife (in person) and my daughter (virtually) went to school on October 8. But in the city of Albany, the school robocalled that the phones were out, then back on, then off again. Anyone missing online school that day was not penalized. A receptionist from my podiatrist’s office called me on her personal phone line to postpone my appointment for midday on that day; their computers were down.

I spent nearly an hour cleaning up the small branches that fell from our trees. We were lucky because we suffered no damage. Others had huge limbs come crashing down, downing power lines and blocking roads.

Maybe there will be snow days after all. Though it doesn’t affect me directly, I’m sort of rooting for one or two, despite the remote learning option. “Let kids be kids.” Though it would also be nice to develop an electrical grid not so susceptible to the weather