Some students say snow days shouldn’t turn into online learning
Schools in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia closed Friday as a disorderly mix of snow, freezing rain or both swept through the region.
“I was just happy to have the day off,” said Jenna Kedy, a Grade 12 student at Bay View High School in Tantallon, Nova Scotia.
While the pandemic has pushed classrooms online, it looks like Snow Days still has plenty of support in the region.
When CTV News asked people on the streets and online if snow days should become virtual learning days, the vast majority of people said snow days should remain snow days, pointing to issues of potential power outages or access to technology, and kids should be kids.
“It’s a thing in Canadian culture. Don’t waste it. It’s just a moment to rest,” Kedy said.
“I think it’s becoming a big deal to be honest,” parent Stephen Cogswell said when asked for his opinion.
A spokesperson for New Brunswick’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development said the decision to close schools due to inclement weather is made by school districts, taking into consideration the state of roads and other safety factors.
“As per their collective agreements, teachers are not required to report to work when schools are closed due to inclement weather,” said Danielle Elliott.
Nova Scotia Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Becky Druhan said the province has the ability to provide education in a way that didn’t exist before the pandemic.
“We are always looking for ways to modernize the system and better meet the needs of students, but any thinking about this would start with conversations with unions and families,” Druhan said.
The president of the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union said the province has not approached the union to discuss the idea of turning snow days into virtual learning days.
Paul Wozney doesn’t believe it would work either.
“It takes a concerted, system-wide effort to prepare students to transition to and benefit from online learning,” said NSTU President Paul Wozney.
He notes that the decision to cancel lessons on snow days is made at the last minute and stresses that it takes time to ensure all students have the technology they need, as well as time to teachers prepare.
“You can’t organize meaningful learning with that kind of notice. It’s just not possible,” Wozney said.