Dear ASD-S Families,
This letter is to help families understand our policies and decisions regarding snow day cancellations. The decision to cancel school is never taken lightly and we understand the challenge created by the change of routine, both at home and in the classroom.
How do we decide?
We begin watching weather systems the day before anticipated weather, consulting various forecasts with hourly information such as temperatures, winds, snow, freezing rain, and ice. At 4:30am, a group from our transportation team check the latest forecasts, consult with Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, municipalities, and neighbouring school districts. This information is presented to our Superintendent to make the final call.
Our decisions will be announced prior to 6:30 a.m. and they are based on the forecasts we have, and information we are able to collect on road conditions. Schools are closed by Education Centre (Hampton Education Centre, Saint John Education Centre, St. Stephen Education Centre). Schools within an Education Centre may be closed depending on conditions.
Our three education centres are large and diverse. Our communities are urban and rural, in-land and coastal. Our buses travel 33,000 km per day transporting 18,000 students and we have 5000 student walkers. The weather does not always occur as anticipated and how the weather impacts one area may not be the same as in another. Sometimes what is the best decision for one neighbourhood may not be as apparent for another, but in each case the safety of all our students is paramount.
If schools remain open, and as a parent/guardian you feel that conditions in your area are not safe for your child to go to school, then ultimately you have the final decision whether or not to send your child to school.
What about the lost instructional time?
Teachers have room in their lesson plans to deal with closures and are experienced at modifying lessons and balancing the school year to make up for the lost time. Also, many teachers have plans in place to deal with snow days. Some may assign work ahead of anticipated closures or share expectations ahead of time. This could be instruction to review previous lessons, read ahead, continue project work, solve math problems, or practice creative writing, spelling, or sight words.
Students can also take an active role in continued learning by finding meaningful work to complete on snow days, such as reviewing previous chapters, getting ahead on assignments, or playing educational games. We also recognize the value of the global competencies reinforced when students volunteer in the community to remove snow, child mind, or help out at home.
What Can Families Do?
Families are asked to establish plans for those days schools are closed or buses are delayed.
Families are encouraged to subscribe online for email notifications or follow us on Twitter @ASD_South for the latest announcements about delays and closures.
Announcements are also made through the local radio stations, the District website, and the Information Phone line (1-855-535-7669 [SNOW]).
Parents and guardians can also encourage their students to seek out opportunities to learn, on snow days, and every day.
More information about snow days is in the ASD-S Inclement Weather Policy which can be found on the ASD-S website.