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HSD cold weather policy heads for review

By: Dave Baxter

Posted: 02/12/2019 10:30 AM

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Hanover School Division will review its cold weather policy after schools remained open during bone-chilling weather conditions last month.

HSD board chair Ron Falk said yesterday the policy will now be reviewed by the board’s governance committee.

The division faced heat from some parents in January when schools remained open on days when the wind chill value dropped below -40 Celcius and other Southeast school divisions cancelled classes.

Falk noted the division followed its policy, which states there must be a base temperature of -35 C and a wind chill value of -45 C for schools to be closed.

"This policy we have had for about 10 years now, and although it has been a very good policy it hasn’t been reviewed in those 10 years, so it’s time we take a look at it again," Falk said.

He said one of the options being considered is changing the policy so schools can be closed if either the base temperature is lower than -35 C or the wind chill value is lower than -45 C, rather than requiring both.

The division’s goal is always to keep schools open when possible, he said.

"When we stay open we get some angry parents but there are working parents who are equally as upset when we are closed because then they have to scramble to find daycare options," Falk said.

He defended the decision to keep schools open when other divisions in the region closed schools.

"Busses were running and busses were warm and parents always have last call and can keep their kids at home if that is what they decide," Falk said.

The governance committee is expected to deliver its findings in the coming months, so that any proposed policy change can be considered for implementation before the start of the next school year.

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