Gateway Gazette

EXTREME COLD! What happens now?

Foothills School Division announced that all school buses are CANCELLED for Thursday January 16, 2020. All in-town and rural routes are cancelled. Scheduled field trips requiring transportation will also be cancelled.

When winter weather arrives in the Foothills region we may decide to cancel buses (or more rarely, classes) for student safety.  There are always a lot of questions surrounding winter weather and school, and we have all the answers for you.

How do you decide to cancel buses? 

Busing cancellations are a joint effort between our Superintendents, Transportation Department, and Drivers. When assessing whether or not it is safe to transport students on buses, we take into account: 

  • Consultation with the County of Foothills regarding road conditions
  • Outside temperature
  • Wind chill factor
  • Visibility (blowing snow, fog, etc.)
  • RCMP travel advisories
  • Weather warnings issue by Environment Canada.

What happens if the weather turns bad during the school day or while buses are running?

When inclement weather conditions exist but buses are running or during the school day, bus drivers are granted the discretion to make alternate arrangements with parents to ensure that students remain safe. 

If one bus route in my region is canceled, is mine canceled as well?

Bus routes are assessed on a route-by-route basis. This means that we may determine that one route (Route A) is unsafe for bus operation, while others (Routes B and C) remain in acceptable driving conditions. Therefore, Route A would be canceled while Routes B and C remain in operation.

If buses are cancelled, does that mean school is cancelled?

Not necessarily. In almost all cases, schools remain open and classes are still in session when buses are canceled. We respect the decision of parents who may decide to keep their children at home when transportation circumstances make travel unsafe. When attendance is low due to winter weather, teachers are asked to provide meaningful instruction in the form of review, practice, and enrichment. Any essential learning or activities that occur will be replicated for absent students upon their return.

So when is school cancelled?

Emergency closure may be required for extreme weather conditions, power failure, water and sewer problems, fire, or any other situations that may endanger the health and safety of students and staff.  Closures are rare and will be communicated to all families through our emergency call-out system.

If buses are cancelled but classes aren’t, do I have to send my child to school?

When inclement weather conditions exist and school closure has not been effected, parents must use their own discretion in sending their child to school. If your child will be absent due to bus cancellations, or for any other reason, please inform your school. 

Do I have to call the school and let them know my child is not coming to school?

For safety reasons, we ask all parents to call the school to confirm that their child is not attending on days when buses are cancelled. Many parents decide to drive their child to school, or make alternate transportation arrangements when buses are cancelled, and we want to make sure everyone gets to school safely. If a child doesn’t show up and we haven’t heard from you, we don’t know if it’s because buses aren’t running and you stayed at home, or if something serious may have happened on the way to school. So please call your child’s school and let them know if your children are not attending that day.

How can I know when buses and/or classes are canceled?

Foothills School Division strives for excellent communication and has a large variety of tools available to families to ensure that they always have the latest information regarding cancellations. 

All busing delays and cancellations will be posted on our website. Major busing cancellations (for an entire region or the whole Division, for example), will also be posted on our social media pages.  For rural routes, our bus drivers will also contact parents directly.

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