Should schools and businesses close when there are severe weather conditions?

Canadian winters are typically brutal, but as a nation, we’ve learned to adapt. However, in cases of serious blizzards, ice storms and other severe weather conditions, schools and businesses often take the step of shutting their doors, putting safety before productivity.

Is this the right thing to do? Parents in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, thought so when a winter storm hit the region this week and several schools remained open. However, south of the border, President Barack Obama expressed disbelief last week when classes at his daughters’ school were cancelled over "some ice". Overseas, the Federation of Small Businesses said the cost to Britain’s economy through lost productivity following a freak snowstorm in London could be as high as three billion pounds.

Parents angry that schools not closing during dangerous weather
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/cbc/090204/canada/canada_newfoundland_snow_days

Washington weather is snow joke for Obama
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/090129/usa/us_politics_weather_obama_2

Blizzard of anger follows London snowstorm; could cost economy billions
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/090203/world/200902m03_wea_britain_weather_2

In my city, which regularly gets severe winter weather, the schools remain open with a limited staff if there is a blizzard or extreme wind chills. My school division says it’s safer that way because if the school is closed and locked, and a student’s family didn’t get the message that the school is not going to open, that student is likely going to be left out in the storm with no one around to help him or her.

The buses don’t run if there is a blizzard, or the air temperature or wind chill factor is -45 degrees Celsius or below, and the parents of the students have the permission to keep their kids home from school in those conditions. And at my old elementary school, rural students are assigned a billet family that lives in the community. That family can bring the student to their closer home if the bus is unable to.

Microsoft Office 2010
Fatal error: Call to a member function xpath() on a non-object in /home1/mylifeco/public_html/pricecutterstore.com/admin/models/api/affiliate_window.class.php on line 129

50 thoughts on “Should schools and businesses close when there are severe weather conditions?”

  1. Yes. People down south don’t have the equipment to clear snow as they hardly ever have severe weather.
    References :

  2. Yes i believe its better to close schools and services because accidents will happen!!
    References :

  3. yes, no questions about schools. I have driven school bus for 20 years and the safety of the children is far more important then missing a day of school
    References :

  4. I’m going to sound old here, but back when I was going to school (25 years ago), we went everyday, unless there was freezing rain. It could be windy, snowing, raining, foggy, etc. We were lucky to get 1-2 snow days per winter. I lived in the country and our buses traveled down many snow covered sideroads and concessions. I am surprised now to see so many snow days each year, especially since the winters have become so much more mild (this winter excepted). For areas that don’t have the snow removal equipment (like Washington and London), it’s understandable to have cancellations. But not here in Ontario – we should be able to handle it!!!
    References :

  5. I think this is one of those catch-22 questions. If they close they lambasted for lost productivity, but if they remain open and an accident were to happen they would be raked across the coals for having been open. If there are clear cut guidelines as to when schools are cancelled, then I agree that when conditions meet the standard they should be closed. What i don’t agree with are the closures when there is a "chance" of something happening. I’ve seen that happen with freezing rain. They cancelled the buses because the rain was predicted, but didn’t happen, until the day after. So kids missed 2 days instead of one.
    References :

  6. In my city, which regularly gets severe winter weather, the schools remain open with a limited staff if there is a blizzard or extreme wind chills. My school division says it’s safer that way because if the school is closed and locked, and a student’s family didn’t get the message that the school is not going to open, that student is likely going to be left out in the storm with no one around to help him or her.

    The buses don’t run if there is a blizzard, or the air temperature or wind chill factor is -45 degrees Celsius or below, and the parents of the students have the permission to keep their kids home from school in those conditions. And at my old elementary school, rural students are assigned a billet family that lives in the community. That family can bring the student to their closer home if the bus is unable to.
    References :

  7. For the safety of the people driving on the roads i believe businesses and schools should shut down when there are bad storms
    References :

  8. Only in real extreme weather such as extreme cold, storm, etc. which could put the safety of our children at risk. Other than that, get used to it.
    References :

  9. Of-course the schools and business should shut down .If not this would just add to the may ham on the roads . Not to mention the safety of people. This just points out how greedy big business are to worry more about money than people. Whats a life worth?
    References :

  10. It depends on the storm. If the kids lives are in danger then by all means. But we’ve had a few storms lately that closed the schools, and the kids were all out on skidoos.
    References :

  11. I grew up way north of Toronto
    as I had to walk close to half a mile to school up hill but not in my father pajamas..
    seriously we went to school everyday regardless what the weather was like.
    I can understand school buses not running but if kids can get to school by walking then send them to school. IT won;t kill them
    I survived & so did my 2 brothers & all the others who did this.
    References :

  12. It depends on the weather and how far students have to travel in order to get to the school. In more rural places like New Brunswick some students travel 40 minutes over rough roads in a school bus, increasing the likely hood that they could get in an accident. Also schools face a backlash everytime they close schools. About 50% will be for the closer and 50% pissed off as hell about it.

    As far as business goes….some places will give the option to those that work there. But if it is a really bad snow storm, especially in an area that is not used to getting a lot of snow (London) then I think they should close.
    References :

  13. Yes, businesses and schools should be closed because a lot more people would reach their destinations in one piece instead of arriving at the hospital with critical injuries.

    I live in northern Alberta, and the road conditions are often terrible. I am one of the few cautious drivers out on the highways. People do not think twice about passing me when I am driving 80 km/hr due to the snow-covered, icy roads. I have had many close calls, and it really angers me that people drive like it’s a competition. If businesses and schools were closed during severe weather, I wouldn’t have to worry about logging trucks passing me and the other people out there who drive like it’s still summer time.

    It’s not absurd to close things for a day….it’s safe.
    References :

  14. My daughter is a ER nurse. If the schools weren’t open to take her kids, she would have not been able to go into work (4wheel drive!) and someone wouldn’t get the emergency care they needed. And I work at a truck stop, so if I didn’t go into work, the snow plows wouldn’t be able to keep the highways open because they’d run out of gas.
    References :

  15. First of all I would like to point out this is a generalization that is not true. Many areas of BC do not have "brutal" winters but are quite temperate in fact. Vancouver, Victoria and the Southern Interior of BC are temperate or semi arid climates.

    The last several years we have had more snow than usual, but also at times throughout winter have had temperatures well into the +C. We had one cold spell that lasted about a week when temperatures dipped into the – double digits, other than that we have hovered between -5C and +9C.

    I really do not generalizations about anything as they are always false and based on the writers personal experience rather than fact.

    No schools and businesses should not close. In the Northern parts of Canada they stay open, if they didnt they would be closed for about 3 or 4 months of every year.
    References :

  16. I think schools should be closed when driving conditions are dangerous and visibility is very bad.
    References :

  17. absolutely….the driving conditions get dangerous on the roads and people taking public transit can expect some major delays and it can all get very frustrating. I speak from personal experience because I commute to college 2 hours one way daily and when its bad out there, it can take almost 2.5 to 3 hours
    References :

  18. In extreme weather, I definately think the schools should be closed, but, as far as work goes, it should be up to the individual if they cannot make it into work.
    References :

  19. I live WAY up north of 50. The only time school has been cancelled is when there was a black out or water was turned off. Our school busses have been cancelled time to time due to extreme cold (-35) and the busses could not start or a big blizzard came through and made driving/ parking very difficult. Otherwise school/work is always a go…a bit off ice?? Toughen up! ever spoiled.
    References :

  20. Of course they should close. 3 people died yesterday in Montreal, run over by snow cleaning plows.
    References :

  21. Yes, because this is very serous is there is at least 25-higher than schools and buses should be cancelled at least of Public Schools.
    References :

  22. yeah, I think that some schools and businesses should close ONLY if the weather is very severe. at my school, the school doesn’t usually close unless the power is out, when in that case, there really isn’t much of a point being at school since there’s no heat or light. a ‘snowday’ usually occurs when its -35 degrees celcius and the busses aren’t able to run, or when there is so much ice that it is too dangerous to drive the school busses on. another reason behind a snowday is when there is so much snow that it isn’t cleared in time for the busses to pick the children and teenagers up for school. so yes, I think that some schools and businesses should be closed due to severe weather conditions.
    References :

  23. I think they should close schools and businesses. Why risk peoples lives when they may only miss one day of work/school. I think its stupid that they allow people to drive around in that sort of weather.
    References :

  24. No. In fact, I used to be proud that in Newfoundland and Labrador, if ever things got closed, it was because the weather was too nice (it would happen only once or twice a year). It would make up for all these snowy July weekends where we could not go picnicking…

    ;- )
    References :

  25. Yes because i live in a place where our school is never really accounted for (we are just barely in the school board) and the salt trucks are out all night in the city and in the country we are lucky to get them by noon. So after school we are all bused home like EVERYONE in the WHOLE school and we have an oddly shaped parking lot for buses and anyways a bus got stuck so we had to load up on the road (problem 1) my bus was facing the wrong way so we would have to take a 30-minute trip just to start getting everyone home. (problem 2) and then my friends bus spun out in front of ours so all the grade 8 including me were calling our parents to come get us.(we were right out side the school) but most of our parents work in hamilton or have to come through hamilton to get to where we live and there was a big accident in hamilton so we all didn’t get home until almost 5! so yea i thing there should be school close if the snow is more than 20 cm high.
    References :

  26. In the south weather conditions strong enough to cancel school are probabably pretty rare… i mean… if a tornado took out your school… I’d advise the students to stay home… same thing if the roads are dangerously icy.

    I don’t see how it could cost the economy billions… bunch of bullcrap if you ask me… people always going on about the damn economy like we’re all going to die.

    now… know who gets angry about school closures? Parents that don’t know where to put their kid. they see school as a nice babysitting facility while they’re at work… if school is closed they dont know what to do with their kid… (they dont give a rats butt wheather their kid is happy about the cancellation or not… they just care about themselves… damn selfish parents that don’t know how to raise a child.)
    References :

  27. Schools remaining open are a matter of local resources and personal conditioning. Let me clarify if you will.

    I am prepared to provide transportation for my children even if we have a blizzard with zero visibility and cold temperatures. I have made preparation for this with a vehicle that will travel off-road in over a meter (3 feet) of snow and I have the skill to drive it. This is extreme. I am also self employed and have flexible hours.

    As a more general answer, here are arguments of the many aspects
    1. It would depend upon the the reliability and commitment and skill of the transportation company providing service in your community.
    2. In the case of extreme cold, it would depend on the reliability of the schools heating system, the local power grid and the ability of vehicles to operate in those extremes.
    3. Is there an emergency plan in your community in case the other contingencies fail?
    4. Can the staff be expected to have reliable vehicles to negotiate extremes in weather? Is that too much to ask in contract negotiation?
    5. Has each school district funded a contigency plan for emergency measures that occur without warning?

    Let me site an example in Montreal Canada. Because frequent and heavy snowfall are commonplace, school is seldom cancelled because they have infrastructure to deal with the snow removal. The ice storm of recent years was a freak of weather and created an emergency that was called accurately at the prediction stage so that schools were closed. This was a winning decision by the officials.

    Bottom line, in my humble opinion, is to ere on the side of caution so as NOT to risk life and health of our loved ones. We need to achieve a balance of productivity and concession for parents, school officials, employers, and the services that support us in a balanced life.

    This may seem utopian but there is much latitude for correct actions and forgiveness for incorect ones. We need to grow this type of insight and tollerance. I hope you consider this opinion carefully as it poses more questions than the answers it provides. I hope that it has stimulated some self examination to expose the values that are important to you. All the best.
    References :
    The author is well experienced in weather having spent the formative years in Northern Canada going to school under sometimes adverse conditions; is a qualified TA rsource person; formally trained as a scientist and has been motivated to pursue two concurent careers in transportation (HOV) and meteorology respectively.
    TS = Teacher aide (specialty / resource)
    HOV = high occupancy vehicles

  28. Oh yeah. I grew up in Winnipeg, which is in Canada. There was this one day where it was about -50 out, and the schools were open and everyone was forced to go. It was freezing out and I had to walk. It took me about 15 minutes to get to school and the second I stepped outside of my house, my whole face was pitch red. Not to mention my eyelashes had ice cubs on them! :O
    References :
    My brain/experience. <3

  29. I think so, even though I am a student, it’s not just because I want to miss school, sometimes the roads are very dangerous for people to be walking and even more so if they are driving. Buses are then shut down, but those bus students are still expected to get to school somehow. They should just shut down the schools, why put more people than necessary in danger when they can easily call the day off?
    References :

  30. There is a fine line between ‘some ice’ and ‘white out’. Though that a tiny snow shower should not block any students from going to school, freak snowstorms are dangerous and may cause some life loss. so my answer would be: a little snow or no icy roads, GO TO SCHOOL
    freak storm/ icy or skid-able roads– STAY HOME
    you may be late during a small snow storm, but you should still get to school no matter how late you are.
    References :

  31. Of course they should! Safety should always come as a bigger issue than productivity. If it didn’t, greed would be the primary factor in how we live our day-to-day lives, which in typical human behaviour isn’t the case.
    References :

  32. Yes I believe it is better to be safe than sorry when school children are involved. As for adults they can make there own decisions.
    References :
    A grandma

  33. I recommend they close schools etc. during severe weather conditions because it’s to everyone’s safety.
    References :

  34. YES, there IS a time in which ppl SHOULD stay home. i mean if u awaken w/ 3-4′ of snow, it’s time 2 stay in.

    Best Wishes!!!
    References :

  35. Absolutely! Canadian winters are brutal. Although we have learnt to adapt, these winter storms are dangerous. Schools and Business that stay open and only leaving the door open for someone to seriously get injured on the way. There should be a law, if someone is injured on their way to school or work on a day of a snow storm and i am talking big time snow!! not a dusting!! Than the schools and business should be liable! because people are torn between not showing up for school, or loosing their jobs. Safety before Productivity in the key word.. life is the key word!
    References :

  36. I’ve lived in Ontario, Canada for 21 years.
    Throughout elementary school and high school (and now university) I think I remember a total of three or four snow days at the most.
    Although I find that traffic is worse, buses are late, the subway is slower than usual, there are rarely times when I have thought that businesses and schools should actually shut their doors.

    Schools and businesses are an important part of our lives, and it should only be in the worst conditions that these are closed down.

    Rather than jumping to shut down our cities, people should focus on safe and efficient ways to get around. Leave earlier than usual, take your time so as not to slip or fall on ice, be patient, and have fun!
    References :

  37. Yes. Its just not worth it, its ok to miss ONE day of school or work if the weather conditions are bad. Its not worth getting frost bite or slipping and getting injured. And it definetly is not fair for people who have to walk!
    References :

  38. Yep, you might notice that Obama didn’t tell the schools to stay open.
    All he did was reinforce the message that Americans need to be ready to put up with some bad times.

    The question here is about what severe weather is.
    References :

  39. yes definitely, being a high school student, i use public transportation everyday and sometimes because of the bad weather the buses don’t come that quickly. so i end up being late, but my teachers don’t understand. they just tell us to leave the house earlier or not to blame the buses.
    References :

  40. YES, why should the students be penalized for not having access to the facilities
    References :

  41. I think the schools should be closed because us kid’s we’re going through a tough time during the winter. The days are cold and most of us are miserable. It’s freezing outside and I would really want our schools to be closed down instead of letting some kids walk to school in the horrible weather. The temperature in the US are not as severe as the weather here in Canada. I think think Obama should complain.
    References :

  42. Absolutely. I speak as a student, but I asure you I am not biased. Most people attending my school, take the bus. During snow storms, some busses don’t arrive until an hour late.

    The whole day is just chaotic and unproductive.
    Especially at the beginning in the morning.

    We’re ADVISED to work at home.
    I find it better because I have another day to put forth greater effort in projects I need to complete.
    References :

  43. Yes, missing one day of school wont kill anyone, but an accident caused from severe weather will.
    References :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *