Superintendent Joseph Ricca: 'It's Been A Tough Year For Kids ... The Joy Of Being A Child On A Daily Basis Has Been Changed'By Tony Aiello

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As schools turned to remote learning during the pandemic, some predicted it would lead to the end of the school Snow Day.

New York City and many additional districts will have remote-only learning Thursday, but others have decided the Snow Day is a tradition worth preserving.

Sledding on a school Snow Day and fun in the frigid cold are wonderful winter memories that stay with us as the years pass.

“They were awesome. I remember having snowball fights with my brother and beating him up,” parent Josh Beame said, laughing.

“I loved Snow Days. I loved making snowmen and sledding, and that’s what I’m hoping to do with my kids this time,” mother Jessica Shannon told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.

Her boys are in the White Plains district, which has a robust hybrid learning program.

But instead of going all remote Thursday or giving out work-from-home assignments as many districts have chosen, White Plains’ school is canceled, a good old-fashioned Snow Day.

“It’s been a tough year for kids. It’s been a tough year for everybody, but a lot of what children normally get to experience, the joy of being a child on a daily basis, has been changed,” Superintendent Joseph Ricca said. “I think this opportunity, at least for White Plains, is an opportunity to restore a little bit of normalcy, just for a minute.”

“It’s just something kids look forward to, and to take that away on top of everything else they’ve lost, to me, is gonna be negative for their mental health,” parent Kim Burns said.

“I’m a teacher, I’ll do either one, but I think we’re getting a Snow Day,” teacher Christine Milano said.

The White Plains superintendent admits the unique stresses of this pandemic year did inform his decision to cancel school Thursday, and when things return to normal, perhaps remote learning technology will mean the end of the Snow Day.

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But for this first storm of the pandemic year, Ricca says, “I think it’s a perfect opportunity for a traditional Snow Day.”

He wants kids to close the screen, grab the sled and have some frigid fun.

A survey in November showed with the rise of remote learning, 70% of school districts are considering ending Snow Days.


Tony Aiello