It’s been a rough winter for the East Coast—the harshest that we’ve seen in decades. At first, the snowfall was a welcome sight for some students, but now, forecasts that even mention minor flurries of any wintery mixture have us recoiling with contempt.
The students of New York City have braved many meteorological phenomena this season, and it’s understandable that everyone is anticipating spring with gusto, but until then, it is possible that we’re going to have to endure a few more rounds of snowy madness.
Considering what a nuisance these weekly blizzards have been for everyone, one would think that students have probably have been allotted multiple snow days as a result.
As we all know, this is not the case.
So far, NYC public schools have only had one official snow day, and while students are notorious for seeking extra days off from school at the drop of a hat, some empathy from the Department of Education wouldn’t be unwarranted.
Recent uproar has festered over public schools having been kept open despite the dangerous conditions that have plagued the city. The most notable dissatisfaction occurred on February 13th, when schools chancellor Carmen Fariña declared schools to remain open after a foot of snow descended upon some boroughs (adding to the snow that had previously been on the ground).
Naturally, many parents questioned the Department of Education over the decision, and were left to wonder whether the students’ best interest was being tended to.
Tech students have been asking the same questions.
Adip Vora ’15 says, “Obviously on days where there are sidewalks caked with ice, we should have snow days, but it makes no sense to give us a snow day on a day where it snowed four inches, and not on a day where is snowed, then rained, then snowed again, leaving layers of snow and ice on the ground.”
Likewise, other students are also angry about the inconsistency of the DOE.
In a survey conducted to see how Tech students felt about this issue, eight out of thirty-five students said that they believed that the DOE should have closed schools more often this season, and none of the students agreed with the DOE’s decisions.
Interestingly enough, the other twenty-seven students said that while they didn’t agree with the DOE, they think that the first step should be in offering delayed openings, which would allow for more students to actually arrive to school.
Brian Ward ’15 states, “Tech’s student population consists of kids from many different boroughs and thus, even though it may be dangerous, just getting to school is a hassle along with getting home. Many kids took over two hours on a normally one-hour commute, because of train and bus delays. So therefore, if schools are to be opened in such conditions, they should definitely allot kids the time to get to school.”
It seems like a logical solution, so should we expect the DOE to avoid making the same mistake again?
Melanie Rosete ’16 offers an explanation and claims that “when people in those big offices make mistakes, they don’t like to admit it, and that’s exactly what happened. The chancellor and the mayor made a mistake and didn’t even say anything about it. Safety is supposed to be the most important, and it wasn’t.”
In contrast, Brandon Kow ’16 argues “the DOE is worried about the attendance percentage. The other time schools were open when it was essentially a blizzard outside, and the classes didn’t do much because of how little students came to the school.”
In any case, it’s been obvious that the safety of students has not been a priority as of late, which means that students will have to continue to persevere and hope that Carmen Fariña changes her perspective on the predicament.
Nevertheless, the best advice that can be given at this moment is to hang in there, guys, because spring is almost here.