Communication with parents a key recommendation in storm day policy report for Nova Scotia schools

Monique Chiasson
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TRURO - Better communication with parents and contingency plans to make up for lost instructional time from snow days are among the recommendations of a report examining storm day policies in Nova Scotia.
"Better communication with parents is good but how do we do it? It's putting logistics into place," said Angela Dwyer-James, the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board member who represents Truro.
School Storm Days in Nova Scotia: A Discussion Paper, released Wednesday, offers recommendations to keep school boards as prepared as possible for school closures due to poor weather.
Recommendations include improving communication so parents and media understand how decisions are made; developing consistent terminology for school cancellations and sharing government and board resources, such as highway webcams. Other ideas are developing contingency plans for when a critical number of days are lost to storms, such as sending home learning packages or opening schools later in the day if weather improves; the possible use of snow days as a time for teachers to collaborate professionally; and address concerns of other board employee groups affected by school cancellations.
Noel Hurley, the school board's superintendent, said the report reflects a lot of what CCRSB is currently doing.
"There's not much to suggest doing it much different than we already are," said Hurley.
The discussion paper, written by former school board superintendent Jim Gunn, was prompted by the higher-than-normal number of school cancellations during last year's unusually poor winter weather. CCRSB had 12 weather-related closures, while western Prince Edward Island lost 13.
The report will be forwarded to the operations committee for further discussion.
Hurley said any substantial changes would most likely be implemented for the next school year.
"Any (possible) major changes could require legislative changes," he reasoned.
The discussion paper can be viewed at www.ednet.ns.ca

Organizations: Central Regional School Board

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Chignecto, Prince Edward Island

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