This week, we have witnessed some record low temperatures across the country. Certainly colder temperatures than I’ve ever felt in my life.
Last night, our city received 15-20 cm of snow. The roads were not safe enough to send school buses on their routes, so our school boards cancelled school — the first ‘snow day’ of 2014. The college and university remained open.
As I ventured out for work at 6:45 a.m., the main streets were already plowed and sidewalks were just getting started. I definitely understand the need to be safe on the roads, but I wonder if the decision to close all schools was a little premature?
Tomorrow, temperatures are going to be the coldest we’ve had — minus 23 degrees Celsius, with the wind chill feeling closer to minus 38. The university has already cancelled adult classes for the day. The school boards have said schools will remain open as long as buses are able to be on the roads.
I’m just trying to understand why an institution would feel it necessary to cancel classes for adults’ health and safety (who are able to take care and prepare themselves for the elements, if needed) but school boards won’t do this for children? Is there no policy on weather?
— If the school board decides to close schools in the morning, rather than in advance like the university, parents are scrambling for child care or taking days off work, most times unpaid.
— If schools remain open, there are children who must walk to school. Being outside for more than five minutes in those temperatures, could start frost bite. There are also parents who walk their children to school who also have younger children being towed along. These younger ones will not have the option of staying at school to warm up, but must walk the same distance back home.
— Of course there are parents who are able to drive their children to school. I can just imagine the streets around schools, not to mention the parking lots or drop off locations, once the bell rings for school. This does not make things any more safe for those who walk.
— Once children are in school, they will remain inside for all breaks … except for those students in portables. They will have to run between portables and the school for certain classes and to use the washroom. And hopefully the heating systems in portables are all working well.
Obviously, sending your children to school is a parents’ choice, and the school board has already let that be known. Many parents say that children need their education and routines back, especially after an extended Christmas holiday … but, is one more day going to do this?
Adults’ health and safety are being considered during this time, why aren’t children?