NYC schools fail ‘test’ of snow day remote learning, chancellor says

New York City Public Schools failed the city’s “test” of snow day remote learning on Tuesday after experiencing “technical difficulties” when a nor’easter dumped multiple inches of snow on the region, the city’s public school chancellor said Tuesday.

Chancellor David Banks said Tuesday was a “challenging morning,” after NYC Public Schools learned parent and students were having issues logging on to remote learning systems. He said the schools were expecting nearly a million students to log on to the system, which relies on the technology company IBM to authenticate usernames.

“To say that I am disappointed, frustrated and angry is an understatement,” Banks said during a news briefing. “And I want all parents of our schools, of our students across the entire city to understand that I share the frustration many of them had to ensure from this one.”

“In a word, IBM was not ready for prime-time,” he added.

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An IBM spokesperson told The Hill the company has been “working closely” with NYC Public Schools to address the issue.

“The issues have been largely resolved, and we regret the inconvenience to students and parents across the city,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement.

Banks said there was a lot of preparation ahead of Tuesday, and NYC Public Schools worked through the morning to address the situation. By around noon, he added, about 850,000 students and teachers were able to access the remote learning platform.

“As I said, this was a test. I don’t think that we pass this test,” Banks said, adding NYC Public Schools will be conducting an analysis into what happened.

This was the first time the department has executed remote learning on a snow day since announcing in 2021 it would attempt it when inclement weather closes schools.

Multiple districts around the country have switched to remote learning when schools are closed for weather events, sparking concerns among some parents and child advocates that kids will be missing out on the experience of snow days.

A powerful winter storm hit the mid-Atlantic and New England regions overnight Monday into Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and snowfall.

NBC New York reported parts of the state got upwards of 10 to 11 inches of snow, while Central Park picked up about 3 inches, according to ABC7 New York.

—Updated at 3:59 p.m.

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