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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

Technical issues during the February 13 snow day sparks controversy over whether remote learning belongs on snow days. Here’s why it should not.

Students+trying+to+log+in+for+synchronous+instruction+received+error+messages+throughout+the+snowy+day.
Karen Lin
Students trying to log in for synchronous instruction received error messages throughout the snowy day.
HTML tutorial

Since the implementation of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become an integral part of New York City public school students’ lives as they navigate unprecedented challenges throughout the school year. However, while the advent of remote learning allows students to continue learning in any circumstances it is ultimately a futile attempt at doing so and should not be continued in future snow days. 

It is undeniable that platforms like Zoom and Google Meets serve as a somewhat successful form of communication between students and educators when physical interaction is inaccessible. However, remote learning cannot fully replicate the depth of face-to-face interactions nor the motivating and productive nature of a physical school setting. A physical school setting is especially important since students are extremely prone to distractions, especially by electronic devices, during remote learning. In-person instruction enables educators to establish classroom rules accordingly and facilitate a productive learning environment to ensure that students are focused and on task. Because remote learning cannot replicate the benefits that traditional learning offers, providing students with a restful snow day to enhance their productivity upon returning to school is more beneficial in the long run.

Furthermore, the reliance of remote instruction on internet connections and adequate electronic devices disregards the diverse needs and circumstances of students and their families. Not all households have access to these resources, which may exacerbate existing disparities in educational access, widening the digital divide. The purpose of education is to ensure equal individual and social opportunities for all students, and the implementation of remote learning during snow days contradicts this goal.

Even with proper access to necessary technology, it is important to note the possibility of technical difficulties during a snow day that may further disrupt student learning. This was made clear on February 13, a snow day, when there were issues with IBM authentication required services that over one million students and teachers experienced. These issues caused students, teachers, and parents alike to feel extremely frustrated, with many stating that it was a waste of time and that a simple snow day would not hurt. Instead of investing significant time and energy attempting to resolve major technical challenges, it would be more beneficial to provide students and teachers with a day off, especially considering the substantial workload that they may have.

While some argue that remote learning prevents the need to add additional school days in June to make up for lost instruction, it is ultimately more beneficial to prioritize in-person instruction. Additional school days will ensure that students may learn effectively without the possibility of technical difficulties or distractions during remote learning. Similarly, asynchronous learning should not count as a day of school given that it disregards the importance of real-time engagement and active participation in the learning process.




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About the Contributor
Karen Lin, Photography Editor / Social Media Editor
Karen is a senior at Townsend Harris High School. Her passions include graphic design, photography, and fine arts. In her free time, she enjoys reading or capturing moments across her five cameras.
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