The arrival of winter weather provides an opportunity for us to recap how we make decisions about whether or not school buses will run when the weather is bad. Keep in mind that our schools will be open whether or not buses are cancelled.
Who decides if school buses will run when the weather is bad?
Our drivers are directed to not operate their bus when the temperature is minus 40 degrees Celsius (-40°C), or colder, at the start of a route. This temperature does not take windchill into account. Our drivers also follow specific rules about stopping or crossing lanes in reduced visibility. You can read more details in AP 70-101 Emergency School Closing.
Our school buses travel approximately 11,000 kilometers each day. Because weather and road conditions vary from region to region, decisions about whether or not to cancel school buses are made as close to the local community as possible.
On a route-by-route basis
Your bus driver will decide whether or not the school bus will run. Our drivers are the most familiar with the weather and road conditions on their routes. When a bus is delayed, or the bus driver decides to cancel because it’s too cold or it’s not safe to drive, the driver will notify:
- parents of students on their route
- the school principal(s) affected
- the Transportation Office
We will update the bus status report on the division and school websites. Look for this button in the top right corner of the page:
On a division-wide basis
If a big storm is brewing, our Transportation Department will gather reports from school bus drivers regarding local conditions and monitor information from the Weather Network and Environment Canada. A decision whether school buses will run or not will be made before 6 a.m. For safety reasons, even when buses are cancelled, schools will be open for students who can safely travel to and from school.
When all bus routes are cancelled:
- We will contact parents via phone, email or text message through SchoolMessenger.
- Bus drivers will contact the parents of students on their route.
- We will update the bus status report.
- Notices will be posted on school/division websites and division Facebook page.
Sign up for SchoolMessenger
Text messages through SchoolMessenger can only be sent to parents and staff who have opted-in to the service. If you have not yet opted-in to receive text messages, text Y or YES to 978338 (standard text message and data rates apply). You must also ensure that your child’s school has your cell phone number on file in order to receive text messages.
What can parents do?
Make sure your child is dressed for the weather — and be prepared for unexpected or changing severe weather conditions. Students should always wear or carry appropriate winter footwear and outerwear including headgear and gloves or mitts. Students inadequately prepared for winter conditions may be reported to the parents and the school principal by the bus driver.
If you are concerned about sending your child to the bus stop or school because of bad weather or roads – even if our buses are running – you can always keep your child home.
For more information contact the Transportation Office at 780-674-8510 or refer to this guide: