Series of snow days in Maritimes raises concerns about lost classroom time
Published Wednesday, February 25, 2015 8:24PM AST
Last Updated Thursday, February 26, 2015 7:35AM AST
Schools in most of the Maritimes were closed again on Wednesday because of stormy conditions, re-igniting an old debate about the number of storm days in the region.
Most schools in New Brunswick were closed — the 11th snow day this winter for many of them — and most schools throughout Nova Scotia were closed as well.
In the Halifax area, buses began hauling students home at 11 a.m., with those who don’t rely on school buses being sent home at noon.
It was a decision made before 6 a.m. Wednesday.
“We’re going to be getting about 10 centimetres of snow, then changing to rain,” said Halifax Regional School Board spokesman Doug Hadley on Wednesday morning.
“That would be hitting on frozen roadways and we were concerned it would be very slippery and icy conditions."
Many parents agreed with the decision, but others questioned it.
“I don’t find the weather that bad. I have to take my kid to school. I have to take my kid to work with me,” said parent Cheryl Beaver.
Parent Mike MacPhail of Dartmouth said the school boards are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t.”
It’s not a responsibility he’d want for himself, and he appreciates the need to err on the side of caution, he said.
“I can work from home or just from a cellphone, but I’m fully cognizant of the fact a lot people aren’t in that position,” MacPhail said.
“I can’t imagine what it’s like for them.”
In Nova Scotia, schools in the Sydney area were the only ones open on Wednesday.
In New Brunswick, where schools were closed except in the northwest, the large number of snow days means officials soon need to start planning make-up time.
“Lots of students and schools do field trips every year. Students really enjoy them but it certainly takes a lot of time,” said Gregg Ingersoll, superintendent for the province’s Anglophone East School District.
“We really have to balance that with the lost class time we’ve had so far,” he said.
Serge Rousselle, New Brunswick’s education minister, admitted the large number of snow days this season is cutting into class time.
“We are ready to talk with the different districts to make sure that our kids in the province have a good education to have the number of days required for what they have to learn,” Rousselle said.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Rick Grant