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NYC Torments Kids With No Snow Day, Broken Google Classroom

Photo: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Just one month after New York City snapped its 701-day snowless streak, the city got some real, substantial snowfall on Tuesday morning. Trying to get ahead of the storm on Monday night, Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city’s public schools would be closed with students expected to take part in remote learning (which both parents and students famously love so much) rather than enjoy a snow day, a cherished ritual the de Blasio administration killed a few years ago.

But as Tuesday morning arrived with the predicted snow, the remote school day did not begin according to plan. Reports began to spread on social media about both parents and students having trouble accessing Google Classroom and other programs needed for their studies.

The city education department issued a warning a little before 8:30 a.m., reporting that there were some technical difficulties. “We are currently experiencing issues with services that require IBM authentication to login. We are actively working with IBM to resolve. We will provide an update as soon as possible,” read a post on the agency’s official X account.

An hour later, the department said that IBM “has added capacity and improvements are rolling out across the system,” but didn’t provide additional information about how soon users would begin seeing any changes.

Councilmember Rita Joseph, who chairs the council’s education committee, initially praised the city’s decision to hold remote classes during the storm but said on Tuesday that families were not provided enough resources to allow for a successful day of learning. “As an educator who taught during the pandemic in @NYCSchools we are seeing the same thing happen all over again. The lack of preparedness when it comes to technology for our NYC students, educators and staff,” she wrote on X.

Some administrators decided to take things into their own hands with at least one principal reportedly ending school early in light of the technical issues.

David Banks, the schools chancellor, addressed the issues Tuesday, suggesting that IBM was at fault. He said that 850,000 people are now able to log on after the early morning difficulties. “IBM was not ready for prime time, and that’s what happened here,” he said.

During a weather briefing Monday, Adams cited the amount of learning loss during the COVID-19 pandemic in the decision to have schools in session in lieu of a snow day.

“COVID took months, if not years, away from the education and the socialization of our children. We need to minimize how many days our children are just sitting at home making snowmen like I did, and they need to catch up,” he said.

And on the subject of potential technical issues, Adams suggested that parents simply need to deal with it … somehow. “Listen, snow days, my mother had to walk us to school with her arthritic knees. If you are a parent and you are not willing to navigate a computer for your child, that’s a sad commentary. That’s a sad commentary,” he said.

Surely his words will mollify frustrated moms and dads everywhere.




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