New policy to provide clarity for bus cancellations
The Fort Vermilion School Division has developed a new policy intended to provide clarity around school bus cancellations. The new policy goes into effect as of 4 p.m., Jan. 13, 2020.
Cold or Adverse Weather Conditions
In all cases, the Superintendent in consultation with the Transportation Manager has the authority to suspend, cancel, or reroute bus service if it is deemed that the safety of staff, students or the general public is in jeopardy.
Bus service in a certain area is to be cancelled by the school administrator when the temperature reaches -40°C without the wind or -48°C with the wind as measured by Environment Canada Data.
When road conditions such as ice from freezing rain create an unsafe driving condition, or in blizzard condition and excesses accumulation of snow during the storm, the decision to cancel a bus route rests with the Superintendent in consultation with the Transportation Manager.
Other Factors Affecting Safe Driving
Other factors not related to road conditions or temperature may also necessitate cancellation of bus service. For example, periods of heavy fog or smoke may reduce visibility to such a point that it is not safe to drive. In such cases, each individual driver must make the decision as to whether or not it is safe for them to drive.
Whenever a route is cancelled, it is the responsibility of the driver to contact each family on the route to advise them of the cancellation. Families should be contacted in order of pick up and informed that the run is cancelled and for what duration. Should a situation arise that would necessitate a cancellation or delay mid-run, the driver should contact the bus garage to assist with the notification of families.
Protocols for Canceling Extra-curricular Trips Due to Weather/Road Conditions
- On the previous evening (before 9 p.m.) or on the day of the planned extra-curricular activity, the principal will contact the Transportation Manager to discuss the following information:
- School bus cancellations within the division.
- Weather and road conditions within the division. (511 Alberta Data)
- Present weather and road conditions outside the division. (511 Alberta Data)
- Weather forecast for the region. (Environment Canada data)
The principal will use the information gathered from the Transportation Manager to make a decision with the Superintendent as to whether the planned extra-curricular activity will go ahead or not.
- If buses are cancelled in some locations of the division and a planned extra-curricular activity would bring students into that location, then the extra-curricular activity would be cancelled/postponed for that school on that day.
- If buses are cancelled outside of the division due to weather/road conditions and a planned extra curricular activity would bring students into that location, then the extra-curricular activity would be cancelled/postponed for that school on that day.
- When a previously planned field trip is expected to travel in or through an area where buses have been cancelled for that day, consideration may be made to continue with the planned trip if weather/road conditions have significantly improved through the day. In such cases, prior to the beginning of the scheduled trip, the school administrator will consult with the Transportation Manager and then the Superintendent and provide evidence of appreciable improvements.
- After a bus driver begins transporting students, the bus driver has the responsibility to make the decision as to whether it is safe to continue or not.