Response to concerned parents re: WRDSB school cancellationFebruary 24, 2015
I appreciate those who have contacted me with regard to Friday’s WRDSB & WCDSB decision to cancel buses and close schools due to frigid temperatures.
Please find attached my letter to the WRDSB Chair asking for a review and amending of the administrative procedure that leads to the automatic closure of schools once buses are cancelled due to frigid temperatures.
When temperatures reach -35 with the wind chill it is absolutely appropriate to cancel buses and not require students to walk to school, however schools should remain open for kids to learn and only be closed as a last resort. Parents should have a choice and ultimately make the decision if their child/children remains at home or make arrangements for them to safely get to school. Again the current procedure closes the schools automatically.
I further feel the potential of locked doors greeting students who may not be prepared for a trip back home on a frigid day, only exacerbates concerns for their safety.
It’s for these reasons that I’ve asked the Chair to consider the Algoma Public Board’s approach which states, “The board will attempt to make every effort to keep schools open unless conditions are too severe.” Specifically, as I note in my letter, I feel Algoma strikes the correct balance in indicating that, “If transportation is cancelled, and schools remain open, you as a parent will need to decide whether you are able to transport your child to and from school that day. School staff will be available at the school to receive children. As always, you, as the parent, make the final decision as to whether or not conditions are safe for you to send your child to school.”
Please understand that in no way am I advocating for the Board to force children to go to school if their parent(s) feel they cannot get there safely. Rather, I am asking the Board to consider options – including possible delayed starts to mitigate inclement weather impacts.
I hope you will take the time to read my letter and consider my request to the Board.
As always, I invite your feedback and input as we move forward.
Michael Harris, MPP – Kitchener-Conestoga