To Run or Not to Run
Posted on Jan 10, 2018
School bus transportation and Winter weather
The decision to run or cancel school bus transportation due to weather concerns or road conditions is made by the Director of Transportation. It is not a decision that is made lightly. There are a number of factors the Transportation Department considers when making the call. In addition to traveling and scouting roads himself, Director of Transportation Rhett Czaban has a number of local contacts in all Northern Gateway communities with whom he is in contact with in the early hours. He is also in contact with NGPS school bus drivers who may already be on the road.
Environment Canada, 511 and cameras located up and down the Highway 43 corridor are consulted throughout the day. The initial determination to run or not to run is made between 6:00 am and 6:30 am and is communicated as follows:
- on our website at ngps.ca
- via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/northerngatewaypublicschools
- via Twitter https://twitter.com/ngpschools(follow @ngpschools)
- announcements on local radio stations; and,
- through phone calls to parents by bus drivers
If you do not see a cancellation message on ngps.ca, facebook or twitter, buses are running.
Administrative Procedure 131 (http://bit.ly/2g0vaYQ) refers to -40 degrees Celsius, including wind chill, as one determination factor. This point is based on area data, not specific site information. While individual homes may have thermometers indicating a temperature below the specified -40 degrees Celsius, the data that is collected for each area is the evidence that is used to support the decision made by the Transportation Department.
The Director of Transportation utilizes his best judgment, based on the combination of temperature, visibility, and road conditions, when making his decision about running buses. The primary consideration in the event of severe weather conditions is whether it is SAFE to be transporting children. The expanse of the Division (375 km along Highway 43) means that running buses is not an all or nothing response as conditions can vary greatly from school area to school area. NGPS is committed to being reasonable, responsible, and attentive to the information that is available throughout the day in all areas.
What can parents do?
During inclement weather, the final decision to send a child to the bus stop or to school rests with parents, even though buses and schools may be operational. Parents are expected to exercise good judgment and care when deciding whether or not to send their child(ren) to school when weather conditions are extreme.