Winter turns wicked

<p>With temperatures plummeting to -48C, the Calgary Board of Education saw 30 per cent fewer students in the classroom because of the cold yesterday.</p>


City kids skip school, homeless off streets as deep freeze hits hard



robin kuniski/for metro calgary


The Arctic blast forced Justyna Lachowski to bundle up yesterday before heading out to 17th Ave SW. Temperatures dipped to –33C and extreme wind chill brought it to -48C with no relief expected in the forecast until Thursday.

With temperatures plummeting to -48C, the Calgary Board of Education saw 30 per cent fewer students in the classroom because of the cold yesterday.

Schools remained opened despite the bone-chilling temperatures, but many parents opted to keep their youngsters at home, according to CBE officials.

“There were a lot of kids who didn’t make it to school today. We saw a 30 per cent decrease in student attendance today because of the cold weather,” Barb Kuester, CBE director of communications, told Metro.

The schools allow parents to use discretion when sending kids to school on weather days, but Kuester said parents should do what they can to ensure kids make it to class, despite the cold weather.

“Once kids make it to school our teachers and principals make sure they are well taken care of. Really the best place for kids to be is at school, it’s just a challenge getting them there.”

Kuester said this is diploma exam week and it’s absolutely crucial for junior high and high schools students to make sure they attend.

“We’re just hoping parents realize the schools are open and make alternate and safe arrangements for their kids to make it to school (today).”

Monica Anderson, mother of a 14-year-old Grade 9 Mackenzie Town student, kept her daughter home from school yesterday because “it was just too cold.”

“When I called the school they said it’s up to parents to keep them home so I decided I would. I didn’t want to worry about her being out there when it’s that cold out,” Anderson said.

Louise Gallagher of the Calgary Drop-In Centre said the shelter housed 500 people during the day yesterday when most people would be out and about.

“We didn’t have to turn anyone away but there’s always the concern someone out there with a mental disorder or under the influence won’t be dressed appropriately or seek shelter,” Gallagher said.

Staying warm

  • The Arctic blast is expected to last until tomorrow and Calgary EMS has tips to keep people warm.

  • “In this weather someone can get frostbite within two minutes of being exposed to the cold. So it’s important for people to cover up the sensitive parts like the head, ears, nose and fingers,” EMS spokesperson Paul Lapointe said.

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