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Present in All Fields and Industries, but Especially in Schools

This past Monday evening, people cried out on social media for school boards to shut down
due to a potential snow storm that was to follow. When the morning arrived,
most high schools and colleges had been shut down for the day; however,
John Abbott College was not of them.

When I woke up Tuesday morning, warnings circulated online and on social media. My parents warned me that the roads would be “a literal sheet of ice”, while numerous friends in group chats warned of the perilous weather and driving conditions. Regardless, I headed out into the cold wasteland of approximately -5°C, plowed through the layers of frozen snow that cracked under the tiniest amount of weight, easily scraped the snow off of the car, and got in. Surprisingly, in my neck of the woods (as in, part of the suburb of Kirkland), the road quality was perfectly fine! Meanwhile, the conditions on Highway 40 were fantastic, and I made it to school with no hassle.

Was this an isolated incident? Despite all the outrage, I went around into some of the club rooms to ask a simple question: “How were the road conditions today?” During the short time I went around, the overwhelming response was that the roads themselves were a non-issue for the majority of students I asked. A few did say they experienced difficulty when driving on back roads or off-island, but negative feedback tended to vary tremendously from individual to individual. While road quality did not seem to be terribly problematic, there were some complaints arising that buses arrived mildly later than the posted time and that the sidewalks were especially dangerous.

Many groaned when John Abbott College did not close its doors for the day, while others  moaned (in pain) when they realized that none of their classes were cancelled. Some decided to stay home due to the weather, whereas others decided to use it as an excuse for not attending a particular class; however, there are certainly some individual circumstances that meant students genuinely could not make it for the day. Every time there is a potential snow storm, the masses get into a frenzy and begin to panic. Rumors get circulated that schools might close the next day. Some boards decide to cancel prematurely, raising the hopes of thousands of students across Québec.

People anxiously go to sleep, hoping that they awake to a “school is cancelled”
notice. Tuesday morning, we received the message: “The College is open today. Please drive safely”.

To be honest, that response was particularly upsetting. Including a
“Please drive safely” to your message is just adding insult to injury, despite its
probably good intentions. Even then, it seemed that numerous individuals had
little difficulty arriving whatsoever.

Does anyone remember the last time we had a school day? The College had to shut down late into the semester; meanwhile, we have just started the second week of school. If we have to shut the College down again, not only would we lose our study day right before the exams, we may actually fall behind on course content! It is not like this is the first snowfall of our lives, considering the majority of us have lived most of our lives in Canada.

As such, the issue herein lies less so with the College, but primarily with people. I was not aware of any bad storms before Monday evening, even when I drove back from school late at night during the middle of it. Despite some minor visibility concerns, the tires held to the road without losing any traction whatsoever. I did not expect any schools to get cancelled, but I was still disappointed that morning.

I was disappointed that school was not cancelled. I was disappointed that none of my classes were cancelled. I was disappointed that people got my hopes up the night before, and I was disappointed that the road conditions were not actually as bad as people made them seem.

Image Source: SketchPort

Maxim Vitale
Originally published in Bandersnatch Vol. 47 Issue 07 on January 24, 2018

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