At -43C, Norman Wells school finally calls off classes

Last modified: January 8, 2020 at 8:25am

Schools in the Northwest Territories rarely close for weather, with kids often walking to school in temperatures well below -30C. But everyone has their limit.

Mackenzie Mountain School in Norman Wells finally drew the line at -43.5C on Wednesday, telling residents there would be no classes that morning. With wind chill, conditions were reported to feel like -48C as of 7:30am.

There is an extreme cold warning in effect for the communities of Norman Wells, Colville Lake, Fort Good Hope, Tulita, Fort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic, and the North Slave Region, where wind chill values are expected near -50C.


The Norman Wells District Education Authority has a school closure policy which requires classes to be cancelled if the ambient temperature is -43C or colder, or if the windchill drops to -55C.

Teachers are responsible for contacting parents and guardians of students to ensure they know school has been cancelled. 

“We will re-evaluate for the afternoon at 11am,” Michael Duclos, the school’s principal, wrote on Facebook. 

He added: “Stay warm, my friends!”