Greater Victoria woke up this morning to significant snowfall and blizzard like conditions. Schools in Sooke were closed. Private schools were closed. Camosun college was closed. The police issued a travel advisory - "Victoria Police are advising the public to stay off the roads and only drive if it is absolutely necessary". Victoria schools cancelled school buses, but schools were open.
See photos here: Times Colonist Photo Gallery
Reports indicated that student attendance ranged from 10 - 50% at most schools. There was at least one motor vehicle accident on school property. School parking lots and sidewalks were not plowed. Many teachers were unable to report to work due to treacherous driving conditions. Some schools were not adequately heated. One school had no power.
Why were schools open? The first responsibility of the Superintendent is to ensure the safety of those in the school community - students and staff. Clearly, there were significant hazards associated with icy and snowy conditions both on the way to school and on school grounds.
One reader of the Victoria Times Colonist commented: "Schools should have been closed today, the roads were mayhem... even the highway (Pat Bay) hadn't been plowed or salted. Totally unprepared, very dangerous."