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Inclement Weather Information

Inclement Weather Days 

There may be times when weather or road conditions will disrupt school transportation. The Upper Canada District School Board works cooperatively with Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario (STEO), local bus companies, and with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario with whom we share transportation services, to ensure that our approach to transportation during inclement weather is planned, coordinated and communicated with the safety of students and drivers in mind.

STEO receives real-time information regarding regional weather and road conditions from an established local precision weather advisor. Decisions concerning the cancellation of school vehicle transportation are made cooperatively based on this information and on the input of a team of weather captains deployed across the region.

For the 2021-22 school year, when school transportation is cancelled due to poor weather conditions, UCDSB schools will remain open to staff and students.

Cancellation announcements will be made no later than 6:15 a.m. Parents, guardians and students can verify if transportation is cancelled in the following ways:

From STEO:

    • www.steo.ca 
    • Bus Planner Delays App (free app)
    • STEO’s Facebook page or on Twitter @STEO_news and @steocancels
    • inclement weather hotline at 1-866-629-0629 (updated no later than 6:15 a.m.)
    • By email through STEO’s Parent Portal. Register at www.STEO.ca 

From UCDSB:

  • Facebook (@UCDSB )
  • Twitter (@UCDSB)
  • Instagram (@uppercanadaDSB)
  • Your school’s Facebook page
  • Your school’s website/home page
  • By email, text or phone call for those signed up with My Family Room (based on your preferred communication selection)

Please do not call the bus companies directly for inclement weather cancellation updates, as the STEO website will reflect the most accurate information.

Winter weather conditions can change suddenly.  If roads become impassable during the school day, or if they are judged to be too risky, students will be kept at school until either their parents/guardians can pick them up or it becomes safe to resume school transportation.              

Fog
Occasionally, regardless of the time of year, fog patches occur.  Fog greatly increases the risk that motorists may collide with a stopped vehicle or with a student in the process of crossing a road to board the bus.  Consequently, bus drivers have been instructed not to stop in fog patches where visibility is significantly reduced.  If students are not picked up due to foggy conditions, the bus driver will call dispatch, who will contact the family, and the driver will provide the names of those students to the school principal upon arrival at the school.  We recommend that you do not permit your child to wait for the bus if visibility is significantly reduced by fog.

Blocked or Impassable Roads
 
Occasionally, a road may become blocked or impassable and as a result, the bus may be unable to service sections of a route.  If this occurs, upon arrival at the school, the bus driver will communicate to the school principal the name of each student who was not picked up.  Please be reminded that you are responsible for your child’s safety prior to boarding the school bus and following drop off.  You are encouraged to ensure that your child has access to your home or to an approved alternative location where they can go if the bus is unable to service your section of the route.

Mechanical Breakdown
The possibility of a mechanical breakdown of a school vehicle always exists but can be of particular concern during the winter.  Please ensure that your child is dressed warmly enough to cope with the potential loss of heat due to a mechanical breakdown on the bus.  If mechanical failure occurs, alternative transportation will be arranged as soon as possible.  If this occurs, the bus may be late picking up your child in the morning or returning them home in the afternoon.

Parental Responsibility and Discretion
 
On days of inclement weather or questionable road conditions, STEO and the boards are tasked with making a challenging decision around running or cancelling buses, with the safety of the entire student body in mind.  When you consider the significant number of students and the vast geographic region in question, you can be sure that there will be days when some of our families may disagree with the final decision made.  On those days, parental discretion and a family’s transportation contingency plan are of utmost importance.

STEO and the boards understand the importance of school transportation as it contributes to education and will do everything we can to operate within the due bounds of safety.  If buses are operating but a parent feels that weather or road conditions are not conducive to travel, they may ultimately decide to keep their children at home.

The process by which inclement weather decisions are made is undertaken with great care and from an informed position, recognizing that sometimes STEO and the two local school boards are working with road-condition information and weather forecasts which may shift or change.  Our priority throughout the year is always to provide safe transport for our students to and from school while maintaining standards for reliable service.

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