We are faced with another winter season with day-to-day variable weather conditions. We understand that our decision to cancel classes and school bus runs, because of severe weather conditions, will have an effect on families. We are often faced with questions from parents, guardians and staff about how we make our decisions to cancel school bus runs and cancel classes.
While we believe that our students are best served by being in the classroom, our top priority is the safety of our students and staff. Please remember that while a good portion of our students do ride our school buses, many students walk to school or ride with their parents. We have a wide range of student transportation issues to consider in making our decision to cancel school buses and to cancel classes.
Who Makes the Final Decision?
The Superintendent of the School Division makes the final decision based on a number of factors and recommendations from Operations staff.
How Do We Make Our Decision to Cancel Classes and Cancel School Bus Runs?
We consider a number of factors in our decision to cancel school bus runs and cancel classes, during severe weather conditions, including the following:
Weather Conditions – we use web sites and Environment Canada weather stations to observe temperature (in excess of -35) and wind chill (in excess of -45) in effect at 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. We also consider whether there is a Wind Chill Warning in effect at 6:00 a.m.
Weather Forecasts – we consider weather forecasts somewhat, but they are not always accurate.
Precipitation – we consider whether precipitation is continuing.
Snow, Ice and Visibility – we review the possibility of snow and ice buildup on roads and highways and whether there is extreme snow blowing across roads and highways affecting visibility.
Highway Closings – we consider Manitoba Highways that are closed.
Time of Year – we consider the time of year including the timing of daylight, will buses be travelling in the dark, are there fog conditions, etc.
Information about Road Conditions from Transportation Staff – we telephone staff in various locations throughout the school division between 6:00 and 6:15 a.m. to discuss road and weather conditions. As you may know, our school division runs from St. Laurent in the north to Miami in the south. While a road in one are of the division may look clear, travel conditions elsewhere in the division may be dangerous.
What Other School Division Are Doing – we share information with other local school divisions and check to see if they are open or cancelling classes.
At any time individual Bus Drivers may make a decision that travel is unsafe and that the school bus run may be cancelled. The Bus Driver must advise the School Division and contact parents if this occurs.
When Is the Public Notified?
We try to make our decision by 6:45 a.m. or earlier so we can post the decision on our web-site and notify media outlets, School Trustees, School Administrators and School Bus Drivers. School Bus Drivers telephone parents of their student bus riders at this time, as well. This usually provides enough notice to parents who may have to make alternate arrangements for child care for the day.
How Is the Public Notified?
The Prairie Rose School Division web-site homepage will have the most current information. Tune to the following media outlets to hear up-to-date announcements about school bus runs and class cancellations. School Bus Drivers will also telephone parents on their bus routes to advise them of the cancellations.
Please do not call the school or division office unless it is an emergency.
Media Sites Announcing Class and School Bus Cancellations
Will School Buses Run in the Afternoon if They Don’t Run in the Morning?
School buses not running in the morning because of weather conditions will not run in the afternoon.
Will Classes Be Cancelled if Weather Conditions Worsen During the School Day?
Once we make a decision to keep schools open, we can’t reverse that decision without endangering students. Parents rely on that decision and leave for work. If we were to cancel classes during the school day, many students would return to unsupervised bus stops and empty homes.
However, if we keep the schools open and weather conditions worsen during the school day, afternoon school bus service may be cancelled. In that case, schools will be asked to notify parents and / or arrange for billets if required. We will not send school buses home early due to impending stormy weather.
Will the School Division Cancel All School Bus Runs in the Division?
Prairie Rose School Division has three regions, as follows:
Region A – Miami, Roland, Carman and Elm Creek
Region B – Elie, St. Eustache, St. Francois Xavier
Region C – St. Laurent
The Superintendent may make a decision to cancel school bus runs and classes in all regions or just in specific regions that require it. However, once school bus runs and classes are cancelled, they will be cancelled for the whole day. School buses that don’t run in the morning won’t run in the afternoon.
We hope that this information is useful and will help everyone understand the factors that contribute to our making the decisions for students, parents, guardians and staff in our division.