By Uriel Bauer ’19
March 21st was the first day of spring. However, instead of celebrating the arrival of warmer weather, school was canceled for a snow day. On Tuesday, March 20 at 2:41pm, Mayor Bill de Blasio posted to Twitter: “Due to tomorrow’s snowstorm, all @NYCSchools will be closed on Wednesday, March 21st.” The forecast predicted up to 18 inches of snow with strong winds, so Mayor de Blasio’s decision made sense. Heschel waited until after school to publicly announce the snow day, but the previous snow day still lingered on people’s minds.
On March 7th, Heschel closed school for a snow day while public schools stayed open. Many were surprised, as Heschel’s policy is to follow the New York City public school system. The storm dumped 3.2 inches on New York City and caused a few subway delays. When Helios staff asked Head of School Ariela Dubler if this was a sign that Heschel’s snow day policy was changing, she responded, “Heschel’s snow-day policy is and has always been that we automatically close when the NYC public schools close, and we may also close when there are safety concerns that impact our community.” Even though the storm might not have seemed bad to those in New York, it hit the other side of the Hudson River harder. New Jersey’s governor declared a state of emergency and some areas in New Jersey got a foot of snow. LQ teacher Natan Kapustin, who lives in Livingston, New Jersey, said to members of the Orthodox Minyan, “Welcome back from your day off…I had over two feet of snow where I live.”
While every student loves a day off from school, there is concern that too many of them will lead to an extension of the school year or less snow days in the future. Junior Eduardo Szajman said, “I really enjoy snow days, but since we have had 3 of them already, I am apprehensive about the fact that the administration might decide to extend the school year because of them just like they did after Hurricane Sandy.” Assistant High School Head Jessica Gribetz said that there have never been more than three regular snow days in a year, and days will not be added to this year. A few students are also concerned that too many snow days interferes with success and advancement in school, like Sophomore Maddie Cosgrove, who explained that “snow days interrupt my academic progress.”
The storm on March 21st caused subway, rail, bus, and Citibike delays and shutdowns, cancelled over four thousand flights, brought trees down causing power outages in areas around New York, and caused car accidents resulting in two deaths and multiple injuries. The National Weather Service reported 8.2 inches of snow in Central Park, breaking the 7.1 inch record for March 21 set in 1958.
An 11th grade math test, 10th grade chemistry test, and 9th grade LQ test were scheduled for the snow day. The math test was postponed to a week after the snow day, the chemistry test was moved to Thursday, and the two-part LQ test was rescheduled for Thursday and Friday.