Parents question timing of school closures in Coast Mountains

Cold weather last week forced the Coast Mountains School District to cancel classes last Friday.

Weather was one of the most talked about topics in the Northwest last week with the arrival of an Arctic blast bringing temperatures in the -30C range for several days in the Hazeltons.

With the windchill, New Hazelton was subjected to temperatures as low as -40C for two days and yet students still waited for buses or walked to school.

On Wednesday the low temperatures wreaked havoc on the diesel pumps from Fort Fraser to the Hazeltons. This meant people couldn’t get fuel for their vehicles, generators, buses and more for awhile.

The Gitanmaax Nursery School had to cancel school for the rest of the week as they had not enough fuel to run their bus and many diesel trucks were having problems starting even though they had been plugged in.

While the large school buses had enough fuel to run the rest of the week, Coast Mountain School District 82 announced they were closing the schools on Friday due to a severe snowstorm warning. However, this was confusing for many Hazelton parents as Friday was the warmest day all week and it was not predicted that the Hazeltons were to get a severe storm.

Many parents voiced concerns that school should have been closed during the -30C to -40C temperatures that had children waiting for buses or walking towards potential frostbite in a matter of minutes.

“Our children have been out in arctic temperatures all week and the first day it warmed up they cancelled school because of weather in Terrace,” one concerned parent said. “It really made me realize that Terrace runs our school system and it doesn’t matter if our kids are freezing, if Terrace temperatures are warmer, our kids are on their own.”

It was still unclear as of deadline what the temperature had to be in order for the school district to order a school closure.

Yet, this week is calling for temperatures above zero and rain so for now, parents, students and residents in the Hazelton’s can enjoy a break from the Arctic winter of last week and the weekend.