Snow Day in New York: Safety Tips and Family Fun


Being cautious when New York is snowy and icy is a priority in January and February when blizzards are most common. Closing schools for a snow day is a complex decision a mayor takes when weather conditions worsen, and he has to choose which is best for children, parents, and schools. Snow days in New York can be a stressful experience for parents making last-minute plans (children will cheer!) but here are some safety tips and ideas to have fun at home.

Want to head out of the house on a snow day? Check out The Best Activities and Museums for Snow Days in New York

Snow Day in New York

If schools close, there are 1.1 million school students that are impacted, including their families who have to find last-minute options for what to do with the children that day. But leaving schools open could expose students to hazardous travel conditions and high risk for incidents.

A snow day for schools in New York is declared when there is an expectancy for snow, heavy ice, or extremely low temperatures. However, there are no specific rules for officials to follow on whether or not to dismiss school. This is one of the reasons why regardless of their decision, some families complain, and others cheer. 


More than 1,700 public schools in New York City build their schedules, considering the emergency closures that might happen. Some principles include extra days in their calendar as “built-in” snow days so that the students get in the minimum number of hours or days of instruction. NYSUT Research & Educational Services requires grades K-6 to have a minimum of 900 hours per academic year and grades 7-12 to have a minimum of 990 instructional hours spread out over a minimum of 180 school days.

Get the New York Snow Day Notifications

The decision to cancel school is often made late in the night or early the same morning. To keep current, the DOE advises parents to sign up for text alerts about important events like snow days and other weather events. Text “nycschools” to 877-877 to receive updates. Follow DOE on Facebook and Twitter or Subscribe to DOE email newsletters.

Local media like NBC New YorkNY11010wins, and Brooklyn Paper also inform New York families about the schools’ closure on their websites.

Snow Day: Safety Tips and Fun

Stay hydrated! Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise says that the cold exposure attenuated thirst by up to 40%, so be sure that you and your little ones take on a lot of water.

The same goes for the skin. Skincare is essential in the winter when the cold, dry air can damage children’s skin if not protected. Be sure to choose a light soothing cream for your kids. 

The best way to prevent hypothermia and frostbite is to stay inside. If you must go outside, dress your children in bright colors and reflective materials. Blizzards, icy roads, and fog can be dangerous, so make your selves visible for the drivers and always look twice before crossing the street.


On the upside, children are always happy to have a day or two off school. Snow days in New York can be a lot of fun for the whole family. This is a great opportunity to spend some quality time at home, have some hot chocolate and enjoy The Best Family-Friendly Movies to Watch on a Snow Day.

Please note that the above information about Snow Day alerts applies for public schools, private institutions have their own policies on when to declare a snow day.