AMHERST - The father of a local elementary school student can't believe it took four months to come up with recommendations for storm days that should be obvious to anyone.
Jim Kerr, whose daughter attends Spring Street Academy, said he was astounded to find out there was no policy in place in regards to storm days, which is one of Jim Gunn's recommendations from the study.
"His recommendations are a blinding statement of the obvious," Kerr said when hearing some of Gunn's recommendations included better communications with parents and contingency plans to make up for lost time due to snow days.
Another recommendation, which included sharing government and board resources such as hourly weather forecasts and highways cameras, had Kerr scared.
"The school boards are making themselves into the weatherman," he said, adding that none would be qualified to forecast the weather.
Schools were closed 13 times county-wide during last year's winter season, but that didn't mean the board didn't close schools on an individual basis. Schools in Parrsboro and Advocate had at least one more closure than the remaining schools in the Chignecto family.
"Of those days, two or three of those could have been considered snow days because the Cobequid Pass had been closed part of the time and it effected businesses in town," said Kerr. "But those other days, school was cancelled because it might snow or it had snowed a little."
School Storm Days in Nova Scotia: A Discussion Paper was released on Wednesday, and was written by Gunn, a former school board superintendent for the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.
The paper was prompted thanks to the high school cancellations last year throughout the province.
"What do you do when you lose those days?" asked Kerr. "It isn't that much of a big deal when you're in Primary or even up to Grade 2 or 3, but what about high school students? There is no fudging in the curriculum after that. In high school, you lose those days. You can't get them back."
Aside from better communication with parents, contingency plans for lost days and sharing government and board resources, the paper also included three other recommendations.
Gunn recommended developing consistent language and terminology for cancellations, opening discussions with teachers to use snow days as time to collaborate professionally and addressing concerns of other board employee groups affected by cancellations.
One of the contingency plans for making up lost days included sending home learning packages, while another idea was opening schools later in the day if the weather improves.
Kerr is all for the idea of opening the schools halfway through the day.
"How can they close the schools halfway through the day, creating havoc for a lot of parents, yet they can't open the schools later in the day?
"It's not about the children anymore. For the most part, it's in keeping with the unions," Kerr said.
Kerr also feels that if parents are able to drive their children to school on days when it's snowing, children should be allowed to go.
"A lot of people will say they don't have a car, and that's often true because I've driven my daughter's friends to school. But when the rest of the town is able to function, why can't the students go in?"