Public schools remained open in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district Monday morning. (THE NEWS - files)

More than 4,000 students absent as Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows public schools stay open Monday

Environment Canada calling for more snow

Public schools in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows were open Monday, although they were closed in some neighbouring districts while RCMP warned about icy roads and a third of local students stayed home.

Meanwhile, a school bus crashed on the Golden Ears Bridge around 8:30 a.m. due to icy conditions, according to Langley police.

READ ALSO: More than 30 students on bus that crashed on the Golden Ears Bridge.

No students were injured, but the driver of another vehicle was taken to hospital.

Public schools in Chilliwack, Mission and West Vancouver were closed Monday.

However, they remained open in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, Delta, Langley, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver.

St. Patrick’s, a private Catholic school in Maple Ridge, was closed on Monday, as was Maple Ridge Christian School.

Meadowridge School, another private school, was open.

Although public schools were open in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, the school district recorded 4,065 student absences Monday.

The district has about 15,000 students.

Irena Pochop, with School District No. 42, said the decision to keep schools open was made after the superintendent took into consideration the condition of the roads, whether buses were still able to run and what surrounding districts were planning to do.

Pochop said the decision was made by 6 a.m. or shortly thereafter, then posted by 6:15 a.m. on the school district’s website, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

“Our director of facilities actually goes and drives the roads in the morning to see what the conditions are on the main roads to get a sense of what the side roads look like,” said Pochop.

RELATED: Public schools open as Maple Ridge residents brace for the cold

That information is then relayed to the superintendent along with a recommendation of whether to open or close.

A school district alert Monday morning said all regular buses would be operating on snow routes, but that buses for students with special needs would be cancelled.

Some parents were angered by the school district’s decision to keep schools open, posting their frustrations to social media.

“RCMP put out an alert saying roads are brutal and only drive if you have to but the district decides to open all schools …makes sense to me,” Theresa De Vaal Adams said on Facebook.

“Should be a snow day. Roads are dangerous. C’mon now guys,” read a post by Robyn Bewbs.

Environment Canada is calling for a 40 per cent chance of flurries Monday night with temperatures at minus-5 C, and dropping to minus-10 with wind chill.

There is a 60 per cent chance of flurries on Tuesday with more snow hitting the region that night and continuing into Wednesday.

Rain or snow is expected on Thursday, with a 40 per cent chance of flurries overnight into Friday.

Pochop said the assessment process will be the same every morning until the end of the week.

She is asking parents to look at the school district website at 6:15 a.m. or their social media channels: Twitter at @sd42news and at SD42Facebook.


 

cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

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