Several school districts have cancelled classes Wednesday as snow falls across Vancouver Island.
Snowfall warnings have been issued for Greater Victoria, Inland Vancouver Island and East Vancouver Island, according to Environment Canada.
An estimated 10 to 20 centimetres of snow is expected in these areas of Vancouver Island, which prompted the snow days and is affecting some public transit routes in the region.
The snow is expected to ease Wednesday afternoon, with a possibility of rain falling in the evening.
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Environment Canada encourages drivers to be cautious amid the snowfall.
“Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow,” said the weather office. “Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow.”
As of 9 a.m., more than half of the Island’s 12 school districts have issued snow days.
The remaining schools have either confirmed they are open, or not yet listed whether or not classes are in session.
The following schools districts have cancelled classes Wednesday, Jan. 17:
- School District 63 – Saanich
- School District 64 – Gulf Islands
- School District 68 – Nanaimo/Ladysmith
- School District 69 – Qualicum
- School District 70 – Pacific Rim – Alberni Valley
- School District 71 – Comox Valley
- School District 79 – Cowichan Valley
Post-secondary schools across the Island are also dealing with snow.
Both the University of Victoria and Camosun College both opened their doors Wednesday morning but decided to close their campuses by the afternoon. Camosun said it was closing its campuses at 1noon, while UVic announced it was closing at 12:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Royal Roads University also closed for the day due to the weather and challenging road conditions.
Further north, other post-secondary institutions – including the Vancouver Island University campus in Nanaimo and the North Island College campuses in Campbell River, the Comox Valley and Port Alberni closed due to weather.
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Due to the snow conditions currently impacting our area, all Comox Valley Schools will be closed today (Wednesday, January 17). This decision is made with the safety of our students, staff, and community as our top priority.
We understand that such closures can be inconvenient. pic.twitter.com/7tyUrAag3U
— Comox Valley Schools (@ComoxValleySD71) January 17, 2024
The Greater Victoria School District (SD61) has confirmed that it is open Wednesday.
The school district encourages students to dress warmly and for families to account for extra travel time to get to and from schools.
All SD61 buses are running Wednesday, though “thirdwave buses” are running on altered service. Anyone affected by the altered service will be notified by the school district.
In an update around 8:30 a.m., the school district said “we support and respect the decision of any parent/guardian who chooses to not send their child to school due to the current weather situation or otherwise.”
Parents and guardians are asked to contact their schools if they plan to keep their kids at home.
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INCLEMENT WEATHER UPDATE JAN 17:
All schools within the Greater Victoria School District remain OPEN today. All district buses are running. Thirdwave buses are running with altered service (parents will be notified if their child’s route is altered). pic.twitter.com/YaBbFkQH6I
— Greater Victoria SD (@sd61schools) January 17, 2024
The Sooke School District (SD62) also says it’s open Wednesday. However, SD62 says its buses are not running.
“It is up to the parent/guardian to decide if they feel comfortable sending their child to school,” said the school district in a social media post. “We support and respect your decision.”
Still to come
The remaining school districts can be found below. This article will be updated once there is confirmation that classes are running or cancelled for the day:
- School District 72 – Campbell River
- School District 84 – Vancouver Island West
- School District 85 – Vancouver Island North