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How do they decide when to cancel school in Pictou County?

Buses were travelling on paved roads only in Pictou County on Thursday, Jan. 9
Buses were travelling on paved roads only in Pictou County on Thursday, Jan. 9 - Contributed

Debbie Reid couldn’t believe it when she heard that schools were open today, Thursday, Jan. 9.

Schools were closed while the bulk of the snow fell on Jan. 8, but people in Pictou County were still digging out from more than two feet of snow after the storm on Jan. 9. Many sidewalks and some roads had not been ploughed.

“With sidewalks not ploughed and roads not ploughed, they’re basically saying, it’s OK for kids to walk on the road,” said Reid, who has a grandchild in school.

She believes for the safety of the children, the teachers and bus drivers, it should have been cancelled.

On social media many parents were venting their frustrations that school was not cancelled.

Jennifer Rodgers, Communications Manager for the Chignecto Central Regional Centre for Education said the decision about school closures is made in consultation with many staff members located in all four of the school families that make up the Centre of Education which includes Cumberland and Colchester County schools.

“Provincial road reports, on the ground staff discussions/reports and various weather forecasts for specific areas and our entire region, are also used to make the decision,” she stated.

Some parents chose to keep their child home despite classes being on. 

“When schools are open, and parents decide to keep their children home, students are marked absent with notification once the parents notify the school that their student is excused,” she said. “There is another code the schools use in any circumstance when a bus is unable to get students to school, and the student is still unable to get to school by another method.”

Buses were travelling on paved roads only in Pictou County.

When it comes to snow clearing around school buildings, it is a responsiblity of contractors and staff.

"CCRCE has external contracts for the snow plowing of our parking lots and driveways," Rodgers said. "Our staff clear the entrances and onsite walkways. Our goal is to have the main entrances cleared at the start of the day. Additional walkways and other entrances are cleared in sequence through the morning."

The province shared this video on Thursday to explain a bit more about how the decision on whether or not to cancel school is made.

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