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Weather not cold enough to close schools, Okanagan school districts say

Although a blast of cold weather is chilling the Southern Interior, the Central Okanagan and South Okanagan districts both say it’s been many years since area schools closed because of cold weather.
Although a blast of cold weather is chilling the Southern Interior, the Central Okanagan and South Okanagan districts both say it’s been many years since area schools closed because of cold weather. Global News

It’s cold in the Okanagan — but not cold enough for schools to close, local school districts say.

On Tuesday morning, students throughout the Okanagan trundled their way to school with thermometers hovering between -16 and -18 Celsius.

Central Okanagan Public Schools says there’s no hard rule regarding weather-related closures, but noted there have only been two school closures in recent memory.

READ MORE: School closures for Tuesday in Metro Vancouver

“Ultimately it’s an assessment on a daily basis when we do have inclement weather, and whether or not there are safety issues that will be taking place in our schools,” Ryan Stierman, secretary-treasurer for Central Okanagan Public Schools, told Global News on Tuesday.

“As well, there are assessments done on road conditions, and whether or not it is safe to operate our school bus transportation system.”

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Stierman said weather, wind chill values and the amount of snow are taken into assessment consideration.

“While we are experiencing colder-than-usual temperatures,” he said, “we did not determine that they were cold enough to justify closing the schools.”

Kelowna Weather Forecast: January 13
Kelowna Weather Forecast: January 13

School District 53 in the South Okanagan and Similkameen says it also has no hard rule regarding weather-related closures, and that if schools have heat and water and parking lots can be cleared for buses, they’re open.

Like Central Okanagan Public Schools, School District 53 said there also hasn’t been a weather-related closure in recent memory.

On Sunday, School District 83 in the North Okanagan and Shuswap posted brief information regarding snow days on its website.

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It said if it becomes necessary to close schools because of weather, information will be posted on the district’s website and through social media channels.

The school district also said “as always, if parents have safety concerns they can choose whether or not to send their child(ren) to school.”

It’s believed there’s been just one weather-related closure in School District 83 because of bad weather, and that was due to heavy snowfall.

For Wednesday, the weather will warm up slightly to -13 C, followed by warmer highs of -9 C on Thursday and -7 C for Friday.

Debunking myths about cold weather and health
Debunking myths about cold weather and health

In Alberta, temperatures are bone-chillingly cold. For example, Wednesday’s forecast for Edmonton is a high of -30 C. Factor in wind chill, and it’ll be closer to -42 C.

Despite those cold values, Edmonton Public Schools said on its website that “district schools do not close due to bad weather. Assume that schools are open unless you hear otherwise through the media or directly from the school.”