NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams defended his decision to keep New York City schools opened for in-person learning on Friday as snow blanketed the the city.

As of 7 a.m., 5.5-8.4 inches of snow had fallen in parts of New York. The Department of Education policy is to shift students to remote learning instead of canceling classes for severe weather events, but officials announced on Thursday night that schools would be open in the face of the snow.

“We don’t have any more days to waste and the long-term impact of leaving our children home is going to impact us for years to come,” Adams said. “I’m not going to contribute to that.”

Adams said based on his conversations about plowing, he knew children would be safe heading to school on Friday.

Schools Chancellor David Banks noted it’s important for students to go to school so they can see their friends and teachers.

“These are places that are really emotionally important to them,” he said.

Adams said he’ll take the criticism from the parents who are upset, but that the parents he’s hearing from are largely saying two words: thank you.

“These are focal points for our children,” he said about schools. “These are sanctuaries.”