School Bus Transportation and Inclement Weather
Posted on Jan 12, 2020
Preparing for frigid temperatures
As the deep freeze sets in for parts of the province families are reminded to take necessary precautions for inclement or severe weather.
When the safety of transporting bus students is at risk because of severe weather conditions, the Superintendent of Schools, in consultation with the Director of Transportation Services, may choose to suspend school bus services and in extreme cases, close schools. Procedures used in this process can be found in Administrative Procedure 131: Emergency Closure - Regular School Day.
Please note: Except in very special circumstances, NGPS schools always remain open on school days.
The decision to run or cancel school bus transportation due to weather concerns or road conditions is made by the Director of Transportation, Mr. Rhett Czaban. It is not a decision that is made lightly. There are a number of factors considered, and bus drivers consulted, prior to making the call. In addition to travelling and scouting the roads himself, Mr. Czaban is in touch with local contacts in all NGPS communities between the hours of 4:00 am and 6:00 am.
Environment Canada, 511 and satellite cameras located up and down Highway 43 are also consulted throughout the day. The initial determination to run or not run buses is made between 6:00 am and 6:30 am and is communicated directly to parents in the following ways:
- via the Bus Status tab on our homepage
- on our Facebook page @northerngatewaypublicschools
- on school websites – look for the Bus Status tab
- on Twitter @ngpschools
- via local radio station announcements
- via phone calls to parents by bus drivers (circumstances permitting)
Every effort is made to communicate with parents directly regarding changes to bus transportation; however, phone calls home are not always possible given the situation the bus driver is dealing with at the time.
If you do not see a cancellation message on the NGPS website, Facebook page or Twitter feed, buses are running.
What Guides Us? Administrative Procedure 131 refers to -40 degrees Celsius, including wind chill, as one determination factor in canceling buses. This point is based on area data, not specific site information. For example, 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 to cancel bus transportation.
The Director of Transportation utilizes his best judgment, based on the combination of temperature, visibility, road conditions and consultation within our communities when making the decision to run or not to run 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 the conditions can vary greatly from school area to school area. NGPS is committed to be reasonable, responsible, and attentive to the information that is available throughout the day in all areas.
It’s Always Your Call! Parents are reminded that the final decision to send a child to the bus stop or to school always rests with the parents, even though buses and schools may be operational. Don’t forget to dress warmly!