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First snow day for North Okanagan-Shuswap students in decades

Vernon resident Susan Cousineau was killing time downtown Vernon, Monday, Jan. 5, 2014 and decided to buy a shovel and help clear sidewalks along 30 Avenue.
January 05, 2015 - 4:37 PM

VERNON - It takes a lot for the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District to shut down schools and call for a snow day.

Even on Monday with 35- 50 cm of snow accumulating around the region, the district remained hopeful school would carry on. It wasn’t until the eleventh hour — after other districts around the region announced closures — that the decision was made to cancel class.

“Today is a historic day in the North Okanagan-Shuswap school district. For the first time in many, many years a decision was made to close schools due to snow,” superintendent Glenn Borthistle said.

The decision to cancel class was made at 7:42 a.m. after principals began arriving at schools to find uncleared parking lots, and a number of staff calling in to say they were having trouble getting to work.

“We regret that the decision was made relatively late in the morning, and although this may have inconvenienced students, parents and our staff, we are also proud of the fact that we make every reasonable effort to keep schools open,” Borthistle said.

District staff spent the morning trying to figure out when the last snow day was, and it appears it pre-dated current employees.

“If there was one, it was before 1992,” district communications coordinator Alice Hucul said. “I’m sure the students are loving the extended holiday.”

It’s unknown when the last snow day was in the Vernon School District.

Both the Vernon and North Okanagan school districts will be checking the situation Tuesday morning and making another decision to open or close schools for the day. The announcement is expected to be made before buses head out on their morning runs.

The massive snowfall wreaked havoc on area roads, leaving downtown Vernon a mess for drivers and pedestrians alike. On 30 Avenue in Vernon, businesses were shoveling out storefronts and clearing narrow paths along the sidewalks for walkers.

Vernon resident Susan Cousineau was downtown waiting for a meeting and got bored, so she bought a snow shovel.

“Most of the businesses have already taken care of their spots so I’m just doing some of the side streets and the little passageways that are hard for people to get through, especially with walkers, and little kids and stuff,” Cousineau said.

The amount of snow was the talk of the town, with people stopping to chat about the incredible weather.

“They’ve never seen this much snow,” Cousineau said. “This woman who was just here, she’s 71, and said she’s never seen this much. People saying they haven’t seen this much in 30 years, so it’s a pretty rare event.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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