Halifax board defends decision to pull buses, open schools
Stock Transportation kept 246 school buses off the roads
The Halifax Regional School Board is defending its decision to keep all of the region's schools open despite the school buses being pulled off the roads on Wednesday.
Officials at Stock Transportation checked the forecast and had an early morning phone call with the school board, resulting in all 246 school buses in the region staying put.
But every school in the Halifax Regional School Board stayed open.
"For those students whose parents did want them to go to school there should be meaningful learning opportunities for them," said Doug Hadley, a spokesman for the Halifax Regional School Board.
"Whether it's to get caught up on some work that they might've missed or they're having some difficulty or some opportunities for enrichment, there should be those opportunities provided to them today."
While it was business as usual at many schools on the Halifax peninsula — where most students walk or get a ride from their parents — it was a different story at schools where many students take the bus.
At Gaetz Brook Junior High School in Chezzetcook, the staff outnumbered the students on Wednesday. All 36 teachers showed up for work but only 17 of the school's 306 students made it in.
Hadley said regardless of the teacher-student ratio or even the weather, when schools are open staff are expected to be there.
"Our expectation is that they would make every reasonable effort to get to work just like every other employer in the province would expect their employees to make reasonable efforts to get to work," he said.
"If they have a challenge I'm sure they would have called their principal and they would have worked that out."
Late Wednesday afternoon, the Halifax Regional School Board cancelled its monthly meeting due to the weather. The meeting was postponed until Feb. 5.
Teachers warned of 'unprofessional' conduct
Meanwhile, staff at the Halifax Regional School Board have been warned to watch what they say on social media during snow days.
The board has been getting complaints about "unprofessional" conduct online, according to a note sent out by the director of human resource services of the school board.
"Please understand that when commenting in public or on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, you are seen as a representative of the Halifax Regional School Board. We have received feedback that some comments on social media about snow days have been unprofessional," said a note from Mike Christie.
"We urge all employees to consider how their words reflect on our board and to be discreet about their opinions. Social media, in many instances, amounts to public comment."