Winter storm wallops Northeast, closing schools and grounding planes

By Dave Collins | Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — A quick-moving snowstorm hit the Northeast on Tuesday canceling and delaying flights, making roads slippery and prompting many school districts to cancel classes or switch to remote learning —- or at least try to switch.

In New York City, the online learning system that serves the nation’s largest school district experienced technical problems first thing in the morning, preventing many of the 915,000 students from logging in.

More than 1,000 flights were canceled Tuesday morning, mostly at the airports in the New York City area and in Boston. Accidents were reported across the region and several states banned tandem and empty tractor-trailers from highways.

Some areas in Pennsylvania and Connecticut were hit with 15 inches (38 centimeters) of snow, while other parts saw smaller accumulations than anticipated, the National Weather Service said. The Massachusetts coast saw high wind gusts, the agency said.

“It’s been a quiet winter, so it’s kind of welcoming,” Ricky Smith said as he made his way to a construction job in New York City. “I just hope nobody gets hurt.”

The city’s decision to push ahead with remote learning instead of declaring a snow day drew criticism from many parents and students, and the problems with the online system exacerbated the discontent. School officials said they were working with IBM to fix the issue, which they said involved authentication services.

Chong Bretillon, a parent in Queens, said she received repeated errors as she tried to gain entry to a Zoom room for her elementary school student, while messaging with dozens of other parents who were encountering the same problems.

“I just spent almost an hour trying to log in and log out,” Bretillon said. “Everyone’s frustrated.”

New York Mayor Eric Adams defended the decision to go remote in the schools, saying it was necessary because of learning losses during the coronavirus pandemic. Many parents agreed.

“I know people around the country get really frustrated with the idea of these remote days and not just letting the kids have a day,” said Gina Cirrito, a parent of three boys in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “But I don’t think the teachers are asking above and beyond and to be honest, they’re so far behind. If there’s a way to keep their brains a little engaged, I’m all for it.”

School officials blamed the troubles on IBM, with Schools Chancellor David Banks saying the company “was not ready for primetime.”

IBM said in a statement early Tuesday afternoon that it “has been working closely with New York City schools to address this situation as quickly as possible. The issues have been largely resolved, and we regret the inconvenience to students and parents across the city.” The company did not immediately respond to questions about what specifically happened and why.
Throughout the region, officials urged people to take precautions including staying off the roads.

In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont ordered all executive branch office buildings closed to the public for the day, and all state courts were closed.

Susan Smith was spending the day with her …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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