Nova Scotia

Halifax school rep says 'worst decision' to stay open

A member of the Halifax Regional School Board is outraged that schools were open in Wednesday's snowstorm, but the chairman says it was the right decision.
A member of the Halifax Regional School Board is outraged that schools were open in Wednesday's snowstorm. (CBC)

A member of the Halifax Regional School Board is outraged that schools were open in Wednesday's snowstorm, but the board chairman says it was the right move.

Sheryl Blumenthal-Harrison said she heard from a number of parents while she was stuck at home because of the weather.

"They were saying that the sidewalks and the streets were terrible so why weren't the schools closed?" she told CBC News on Thursday.

Halifax was hit with 34 centimetres of snow as the first major snowstorm of the season walloped Nova Scotia. Schools in the region remained open, while others around the province shut down.

Administrators with the Halifax school board have the discretion to close some or all schools.

Blumenthal-Harrison said board superintendent Carole Olsen has some explaining to do.

"I'm going to put her on the spot because it was the worst decision I've seen so far," Blumenthal-Harrison said. "I think all that safety issue went out the door."

'Nobody controls the weather'

Irvine Carvery, chairman of the school board, supports Olsen's decision. He said the snowstorm hit much earlier than expected and students were already in school.

"It would probably be better for us to keep them in school as opposed to letting them out in the middle of the storm," he said Thursday.

"It's unfortunate the weather didn't co-operate with us, but nobody controls the weather."

Olsen is not expected to respond. A spokesman for the school board told CBC News it's not appropriate for a member of staff to respond to comments of a board member.

The school board's regular Wednesday night meeting was cancelled because of the storm, but Blumenthal-Harrison said she would raise her concerns at the next meeting.

The issue of snow days came up last month.

Board members rejected a proposal for schools to remain open in all but the "most extreme" conditions, regardless of bus safety. That way, students who walk or get a drive to school could still attend.

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