Surrey school district has opted to leave schools open today (Wednesday, Nov. 30) despite the snow from last night’s storm – a decision which has some residents taking to social media to voice concerns about safety.
However, the district says the decision of whether to send a child to school ultimately rests with parents.
After a chaos-filled evening commute, many residents across the Lower Mainland woke up to news of school closures, but that was not the case in the Surrey school district.
Schools were closed in Langley, Chilliwack, Hope, Abbotsford and Maple Ridge.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University also cancelled all in-person classes for its campuses, including in Surrey.
According to several replies on Twitter under the district’s news of schools remaining open, parents with students at Coast Salish Secondary were alerted with a message that reads:
“Please be aware that there are no cleared sidewalks on the way to school. It is very dangerous please be careful driving to and from school. Students be careful walking.”
I am worried about failure to fills. Hearing from quite a few staff that don't have usual access to roads and faced such tough times last night. This will be a tough morning and day— Annie Ohana (@ohana_annie) November 30, 2022
Our streets and sidewalks are completely covered in snow. The city hasnt cleaned up effectively and residents are still catching up. Dozens of families walk up hill to reach their school. Bad call.— ਕੁਲਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ Kulpreet Singh (@kulpreetsingh) November 30, 2022
poor form, Surrey. Neighboring districts are closed, and even the college i teach at is closed. Some people had a 5 hr or longer commute last night because of the number of accidents. Think about your staff.— Noelle Phillips (@Belladonsah) November 30, 2022
In an update, Supt. Mark Pearmain shared progress on cleaning roads at some schools in the district.
It has been a long AM for our Facilities and Custodial staff who have been plowing and salting our sites. Thank you for your continued efforts as we continue clear our sites! @Surrey_Schools pic.twitter.com/VKYYGEOsZ5— Mark Pearmain (@m_pearmain) November 30, 2022
The district stated that it worked in collaboration with the RCMP and district facility staff to check the roads before making the call to keep schools open, in addition to cleaning the parking lots of schools this morning.
“There’s a lot of parents that rely on schools to be open and so at the district, we balance the needs of our whole community,” said Ritinder Matthew, communications director at Surrey Schools.
“Parents have the option to stay home so if they feel it is not safe for their children, they can make that decision but for our school district, we really need to balance the needs of every parent. Not every parent can work from home today.”
Absences for the day from all 130 schools in the Surrey school district will not be available until Thursday morning, the district confirmed.
Matthew also encouraged all staff and parents to reach out to principals and the district if they have concerns about their commute to school.
Surrey Schools has a list of protocols for snowy weather, which can be found in several languages here.