NEWS

Iqaluit School Closures In -50 C Have Some Parents Irked

03/06/2015 07:53 EST | Updated 05/06/2015 05:59 EDT
After a few days of warmer weather, when people in Iqaluit woke up yesterday they were facing temperatures as low as -50 C with the windchill and another morning of school closures. The decision reignited the debate on the cancellation policy.

Simiga Lyta says closing school in -50 C is teaching children to give up when it's cold, which is harmful for preserving Inuit values.

"If I'm going to teach my son, for example, to hunt, I don't want him to think it's too cold out, he can't hunt," she says. "And if he does go out hunting on a beautiful day and it does get cold, I want him to know how to survive."

The school closures have become a hotly-debated issue on social media. Some say the board should reconsider the policy. Others say it makes more sense for kids to stay home, rather than risk frostbite waiting for the bus.

"Here, a lot of kids, you're seeing them get off the bus with just a hoodie and a pair of sneakers in -50 C," said Catherine Hoyt with the Iqaluit District Education Authority. "We do have to put student's safety first."

So far this school year, students in Iqaluit have had about eight school days cancelled — more than 40 hours of classroom time — surpassing the extra hours the school board factors into the school year for cancellations.

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