Inclement Weather Evaluation Process for Cancelling Buses

Statement

There may be times during the school year where it may be necessary to cancel student transportation services due to adverse weather conditions. The safety of students is always the first consideration when deciding to cancel buses.

Procedure

Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region (STSWR) has developed procedures for school transportation cancellations in case of inclement weather and/or adverse road conditions. STSWR makes the decision to cancel school transportation services in collaboration with the School Boards based on input from local bus operators, Environment Canada and the transportation department of the Waterloo Region.

Day/Night Before Inclement Weather

  1. STSWR monitors Doppler radar images from Exeter at http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/radar/index_e.html?id=WSO
  2. STSWR monitors local forecast at http://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/on-82_metric_e.html

Morning (Before 6AM)

  1. Local bus operators will:

    1. Survey a sample of roads in different areas of the Region to assess driving conditions prior to 5:30AM when adverse conditions are anticipated.
    2. Discuss current road conditions and the impact of forecasted conditions on roads during bus service times.
    3. Bus operators make a collective recommendation or decision and communicate with STSWR.
  2. STSWR will:

    1. Receive feedback from operators
    2. Monitor Environment Canada’s website
    3. Contact the Region’s Transportation Dispatch to get road conditions and status of plows/salters
    4. May contact local utilities for known power outages
    5. Compile the feedback from the bus operators, Environment Canada and Region and review the findings with the School Boards’ representatives
    6. STSWR will communicate decision to public before 6AM. (http://www.stswr.ca/wp-content/uploads/Inclement-Weather_Communication_Process.pdf)
  3. School Boards will:

    1. Review feedback received from STSWR and Environment Canada
    2. Ratify the recommendation to cancel transportation services
    3. Consult and decide on closing schools for the day.
    4. Inform STSWR before 5:50AM of the decision for the day.

Considerations When Cancelling Buses

1. Snowfall

  1. Accumulation of greater than 10cm overnight (may include previous day’s accumulation)
  2. Amount and rate of expected snowfall throughout the day
  3. Wind speeds resulting in snow squalls and snow drift
  4. Confirmation if snow plows have been out on the roads

 

2. Freezing Rain

  1. Current and/or forecasted freezing rain before and during bus service times
  2. Power outages
  3. Fallen trees blocking area roads

 

3. Frigid Temperatures

  1. If the temperature is forecasted to reach -35°C or colder (with the wind-chill) at 7AM
  2. At -35°C temperatures there is an increased risk of frostbite
  3. Any bus delay during frigid temperatures would extend student wait times at bus stops
  4. Since -35°C temperature are unusual for this region, students may not have the proper clothing needed to protect themselves from frostbite