School closures this past week have postponed exams and put Border Land School Division (BLSD) behind on its schedule to start the second semester. So far the school division has logged 4 closures for the year, all of which happened have occurred in the last 7 days.
Krista Curry, BLSD superintendent, says that while officials know these situations are likely to happen each winter, they aren't something the division budgets for when creating the calendar for the year.
"Every morning has been an adjustment to push things forward a day (this week)," she said, noting they were fortunate to get one day of exams in last week. Curry added today's snow day has administrators looking to condense the remaining exams into Tuesday and Wednesday, and instead of starting the second semester today as originally planned, it will now happen Thursday.
When it comes to cancelling school due to stormy conditions, like today, Curry explained there are designates in all three of the regions in BLSD that head out around 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. to assess road conditions and whether it's too dangerous to send out school buses.
As for declaring a school closure due to extreme cold, like in all three instances last week, Curry points to the division's clear policy that sets a -45 degree Celsius windchill as the benchmark. That is also measured between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. via Environment Canada's weather stations at Gretna, Emerson and Sprague, again essentially covering all three of the regions in the school division.
Some have wondered why the call is made so early in the morning.
Curry explains the geography of BLSD is major factor in this process, noting it is such that a majority of the bus routes cover a large area and/or happen on rural roads which can pose safety risks to the bus driver and the students.
"Some of our bus drivers are up and getting their buses going because they're picking up their first kid by 7 or shortly thereafter," she said.
Curry adds these are never easy decisions to make, and says officials never like to cancel school whether it's exam week or a regular day.