Why SD85 schools stay open when the power is out

During the power outage on Nov. 7 that left the North Island in the dark for 12 hours, SD85 opened in the morning as usual.

During the power outage on Nov. 7 that left the entire North Island in the dark for 12 hours, School District 85 schools opened in the morning as usual.

“The School District is often questioned about why, on those windy and rainy mornings without power, we don’t simply close schools for the day,” said ‘on-secondment to the Ministry of Education’ Superintendent of Schools Scott Benwell. “The answer, in my mind, is quite simple,” Benwell said.

“Public education ought to be a highly reliable, trusted, and stable entity in our communities. When a decision about closure is needed, I think about the impact that decision can have on our community services, including our volunteers,” he said.

“When the weather is poor, we need people to take care of things in our community. We require drainage to be attended to, community security to be maintained, and responses available if our neighbours have problems,” he said.

Benwell believes the last thing a school district should do is introduce a complication into the lives of nurses, public works personnel, RCMP, ambulance, and volunteer firefighters, just to name a few, by closing schools and leaving parents and caregivers scrambling.

“I take the view that schools, if possible, should be open to receive students as is expected on any other day. If conditions and circumstances are such that we need to release students back to families, we can do that in a responsible, organized and safe way later in the morning,” he said.

“The reality is that as safety lights fail, we do begin a process of release home.”

Additionally, Benwell believes families are free to make decisions for themselves to keep their children home for the day, based on the conditions and their needs, and those decisions are respected.

“In short, perfect decisions are rare. A philosophy of community-mindedness and stability is, for the most part, appreciated and expected of public education.”

 

Just Posted

North Island Midget Eagles get their feet wet against Alberni Valley Bulldogs

The North Island Midget Eagles travelled down island to face off against the Bulldogs.

Candidates illuminate different visions of Port Alice’s future

The candidates were asked if they believed the pulp mill could run again.

VIDEO: Terry Fox Run returns to Port Hardy for the first time since 2016

All told, Port Hardy’s Terry Fox Run raised $2,200.30 with more still coming in.

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the North Island-Powell River riding

In an effort to inform the North Island-Powell River riding constituents, we… Continue reading

Port Hardy celebrates Pride Day at Sacred Wolf Friendship Centre

In the evening, FISH TACO: A Seaside Drag performance was held at the Quarterdeck Pub.

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Most Read