This is how the South Shore schools decide when to declare a snow day
If a storm is brewing or is already here, Denise Crouse is on its way.
The South Shore Regional Center for Education (SSRCE) transportation coordinator starts her day before 4 a.m. so she can assess whether the roads are safe enough for schools to open.
“There are certainly some busy mornings, but I couldn’t imagine gathering information without being physically on the road to see for myself what the conditions are like,” Crouse told CBC radio Information morning Nova Scotia.
She tests driving conditions on main and secondary roads, follows the weather forecast and talks to construction workers and the police.
“So a lot is being pushed back to a couple of hours in the morning, and we’re trying our best to make every decision before six in the morning so our parents are prepared,” Crouse said.
frustration among parents
Nancy Pynch-Worthylake, the SSRCE’s regional executive director, knows that the decision to close schools doesn’t always go down well with some parents.
“We’re getting calls from families and we fully understand their frustration and also their safety concerns as the storm changes and they feel we made a mistake,” she said.
There are times when a storm just misses the area, but the schools have already closed and the kids are home for the rest of the day. Sometimes a storm unexpectedly hits the area when students are already on their way to class.
“I mean, looking back is 2020, so we often say 8:30 or 9 or 10 in the morning, it’s very easy to look back and see what we should have been doing,” Pynch-Worthylake said. “But at 5:30 we’re making the decision based on the very best information we have.”
2 storm systems on the way
Towards the end of the week, Nova Scotia braces for more snow and cold weather. The first system begins Thursday and could bring snowfall of two to four inches or more for the Tri-County and South Shore regions.
The second system, beginning Thursday night and into Friday, could bring even more snow, with two to six inches expected to fall in central and western areas of Nova Scotia, according to CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon.
Crouse said when she’s out on the road, her main focus is making sure the buses are getting to and from the school safely. When the buses can’t run, the schools close.
“Our buses can drive through snow… but on slippery days it’s really difficult for our buses to control that in freezing conditions,” she said.
The educators did their best to keep the classes going in challenging situations. – Nancy Pynch-Worthylake, SSRCE
Deciding when schools will close due to the weather is a difficult task that Pynch-Worthylake said is not taken lightly, especially during the pandemic when so many children have been spending time outside of the classroom.
“Educators have done their best to keep classes going in challenging situations. But our hope and wish every day is that the streets are safe so that all of our students can be in school,” she said.
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