February snowfall record is a windfall for students

February snowfall record is a windfall for students

WATCH: After days of record snow, thousands of Vancouver Island students enjoyed another record today. Districts in Greater Victoria, Saanich, Sooke, Duncan, and Nanaimo cancelled classes for the third day in a row, making it the longest stretch of snow days ever. Mary Griffin reports.

It was classes as usual at Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School and all schools in the Comox Valley on Wednesday. But it was a different story in other districts such as Nanaimo.  That’s where Bryce Reimer had plans for today that didn’t include playing in the snow.

“I was surprised when we got the call today. I told my kids they were going to school. To their happiness it was another snow day,” Reimer said.

“I’ve had this GT since I was seven years old,” Marty Bagchild said, pointing to the sled he and his three kids are using.

Instead of being at school, they’re sledding in the middle of the day.

He thought his kids would be back at school after being off for both Monday and Tuesday.

“The roads were nice and clear. My car was clear this morning,” Bagchild said.

But with some areas receiving half a metre of snow since Sunday, the Nanaimo School District determined getting to school wasn’t safe.

“A lot of the parents are fine. They’re in agreement. They realize that safety is the utmost importance in the district, and they agree with us making those decisions,” said Dale Burgos, Executive Director of Communications, Privacy and Community Engagement.

While the main roads were fairly clear Wednesday, it’s a different story on side streets creating unsafe conditions all across the peninsula.

“Ultimately you never want to hear about an accident of a student or a staff member,” said Greater Victoria, School Superintendent Shelley Green.

“It’s a big planning decision. We don’t close schools lightly. But we have to be thinking of safety all across our school district.”

For the 20,000 students attending classes in Greater Victoria, the most recent snow days occurred in 2006, and 2012, and they were only one day in length.

“This is the longest and this is incredibly unusual here,” said Green.

The three snow days in a row made it a first for schools in Victoria, Saanich, Sooke, Duncan, and Nanaimo. As for a fourth? Not likely, say the districts.

Children can expect to store their sleds for Thursday, as classes are forecast to be back in session.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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