By Sarah Horvath ‘21
On December 4th, Heschel, along with all of the public schools in the city, closed due to inclement weather. While many were excited to have a day off from the demanding school day, some teachers did assign extra homework after the snow day was announced.
“A snow day means we can’t get into school,” Assistant Head of School Jessica Gribetz noted, “but you can still do school work.” There is no specific policy written in the Student Handbook about work being assigned on snow days, which Jessica admitted there should be. According to Jessica, it’s the students responsibility to “check on Haiku at least twice during the day to be sure that there are no assignments that have been posted.” She continued that as nice as it is to have a day off, it’s disruptive to the teaching and learning schedule. Jessica stated, “Sometimes positing even a little extra work so students can stay on top material is not a bad thing as long as there is time for a nap and a sleigh ride.”
Freshman Liam Katz checked Haiku at about 8:00 pm Thursday night, at the end of the snow day, and worked for an hour. While at the time when he saw the assignment, he stated, “I didn’t really feel anything, I kinda just did it,” he later reflected that the policy should prohibit homework assigned later than 6:00 pm on the day before the snow day.
Dean of Students, Twelfth Grade Dean, and Limudei Qodesh teacher Rabbi Natan Kapustin decided to assign homework at 7:38 am Thursday morning. Rabbi Natan justified his assignment in saying, “I wasn’t thinking of it as purely a day off. I wasn’t giving hours and hours of work, but it isn’t a day without learning, a day that is forgotten.” However, Rabbi Natan noted that he didn’t penalize any of his students if they did not complete the assignment.