Decision to not cancel classes called into question after bus winds up in a ditch
Everyone freaked out
TRURO - Young Cole Gregory was surprised to hear school was not cancelled Friday morning. His day got worse when his school bus left the road and ended up in a ditch.
"Everyone freaked out and was screaming ... it happened quick," said the 12-year-old Grade 7 student at Central Colchester Junior High School.
The children were dismissed from school by the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board late Friday morning because of stormy conditions. At about 11:45 a.m. Cole's bus, carrying about 25 students, was on Fort Belcher Road in Onslow when it came upon a drift in the road. The bus couldn't get though, the driver backed up and slid into a ditch, said a school board spokesperson. There were no injuries.
"I had to hold on to the seat in front of me ...," said Cole, describing the moment the bus left the road.
The children waited half an hour for another bus to arrive to take them home.
Cole's mother, Krista, was upset school was not cancelled early in the morning.
"It's ridiculous to have to make arrangements for children to get to school in dangerous conditions," said Krista of Folly Mountain.
"I'm frustrated, angry and upset ... it was a sense of panic when I heard about the
"I can't believe there was school in the first place. I called the school board early morning and asked why it wasn't cancelled and I was told it was because the school board was 'given the wrong forecast.' Somebody should've been able to look out the window."
Cumberland County schools were cancelled first thing in the morning. School board spokeswoman Carolyn Pierce told the Truro Daily News the reason for not cancelling school locally - and then reversing the decision - was based on a change in the weather forecast.
"Decisions about school closures are made by 6 a.m. ... our team spoke with our private weather forecaster who is used by the province for snow removal services ... and the conditions didn't warrant closure," said Pierce, adding staff were on the roads and reported the conditions as well.
Pierce said the 10:30 a.m. announcement for an early dismissal came when the weather forecast changed.
"In the morning the forecast was for 5 cm (of snow) and an increase of winds later in day," said Pierce.
"Then it changed to a snowfall and wind warning like Cumberland."
An Environment Canada meteorologist estimated 10 cm of snow fell in Colchester County by mid-evening.
Truro police said at suppertime there were three minor fender bends with no major damage at. Colchester RCMP did not report any of major accidents.