Some students say they are swamped with school work as storm days pile up

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Some students say they are swamped with school work as storm days pile up

Some students say they are being flooded with tests and assignments as teachers try to make up ground following a flurry of school cancellations this school year due to storms.

The Halifax Regional School Board has cancelled the fewest number of days at 9½. Students in the Cape Breton-Victoria board have missed 16 days, and those north of Cape Smokey, as well as in Iona and Baddeck, have missed 17 days. 

These numbers don't count Dec. 3 when the government decided work-to-rule would put students at risk and cancelled class, nor the teachers' one-day provincewide strike on Feb. 17 to protest legislation to impose a contract on them.

'It's going to be a crunch'

Wendy MacKay's son graduates from high school in Sydney this year and he's having problems after missing two weeks of class. 

"It's going to be a crunch and what's going to be a concern too is going to be things that are going to be missed and skipped over that they don't think is as important as maybe it should be," said MacKay.

"Especially in grad year when they're getting ready for college and university. I'm hoping that it will be OK."

Workload 'brutal,' says student

Kenneth Chant, a Grade 11 student at Riverview High School outside of Sydney, said students have been bombarded with work to make up for lost time. 

"The workload has increased a lot," he said. "It's brutal, it's hard, it's stressful and there's nothing you can really do about it because of all of the time that we've missed." 

Grade 11 student Hannah Rudderham agrees. 

"Teachers are cramming in tests, like five tests a week, four tests a week — and the teachers don't really talk to each other about when they're having these tests so with all these snow days, they're all just putting their workload in the same time frame," said Rudderham. 

No plans to lengthen school year

Education Minister Karen Casey said the province has no plans to extend the school year. 

"It's winter in Nova Scotia, it is something we can't control but I think teachers do a very good job of trying to make the best of the instructional time that they have," she said. 

She said a number of years ago the school year in Nova Scotia was extended by five days to accommodate time lost for storms. 

It's up to individual boards whether or not to cancel school. 

"They err on the side of safety, there's no question, and I commend them for doing that," said Casey. "It's pretty hard to take away the safety issue and that's really what motivates boards to make those decisions." 

Storm closures are bound to happen, said Casey.

"It's a way of life."