Students head back to school today, Dec. 1 after a snow day cancelled classes Nov. 30. Snow remains on the ground as seen in the field beside Carihi Secondary School on Dogwood St. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

Students head back to school today, Dec. 1 after a snow day cancelled classes Nov. 30. Snow remains on the ground as seen in the field beside Carihi Secondary School on Dogwood St. Photo by Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror

What goes into calling a snow day?

Factors like road conditions considered; Decision to close can start as early as 4 a.m.

The blanket of snow which draped over Campbell River this week brought forth what may be a parent’s worse nightmare, but also what a child usually hopes for: a Snow Day.

Typically, a ‘snow day’ is a day in which schools are cancelled by the school board due to snow, heavy ice or extremely low temperatures. This week, we experienced a snowfall which dropped approximately 32 centimetres (cm) of snow on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to website WeatherStats, and more on Friday.

READ MORE: What Campbell River got up to on its ‘Snow Day’ last week

School District 72 Communications Manager Jennifer Patrick says the task of monitoring a snow storm starts even before the first flakes fall upon the ground.

“Our head bus driver drives some of our routes as early as 4 a.m.,” says Patrick. “They monitor highway cameras and are in contact with city crews regularly after snow begins to fall. They will make an assessment on road conditions. At around 5:30 a.m., a call is made to the superintendent of schools to share their professional assessment.”

Once the superintendent does indeed make the call to shutter for the day, the announcement is sent out through various media and social media channels. However, Patrick points out that it isn’t just an isolated job for SD72, as others have a responsibility as well.

“Student safety is a shared responsibility,” says Patrick. “Parents have the ultimate say in deciding what is safest for their families and choosing whether or not for a child to attend school.”

Patrick says that despite the weather conditions which may cause it, there are several other factors in determining the nature and necessity of a school day, including the bind parents may have making last minute arrangement for their children.

“There is every effort to keep schools open. There are students who will rely on some publicly funded programs,” says Patrick. “The true cost and the one that is most cared about, is the loss of student learning for the day.”

And for proponents of the concept of virtual learning, which has seen an increase during the days of the COVID pandemic, it is severely limited in a distinct region such as District 72

“There are inequities when it comes to the access to computers, the availability of programs and the internet,” says Patrick.”Virtual learning takes time to transition to, and in doing so it could take a lot of additional consideration and planning. It’s not an easy switch.”

For more on School District 72 and their plans surrounding weather days, visit their website at www.sd72.bc.ca.

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