The arrival of winter weather provides an opportunity for us to recap how we make decisions about whether or not school buses will run when the weather is bad. Keep in mind that our schools will be open whether or not buses are cancelled.
Who decides if school buses will run when the weather is bad?
Our drivers are directed to not operate their bus when the temperature and/or wind chill is minus 40 degrees Celsius (-40°C), or colder, at the start of a route.
Because weather and road conditions vary from region to region, decisions about whether or not to cancel school buses are made as close to the local community as possible.
On a route-by-route basis
Your bus driver will decide whether or not the school bus will run. Our drivers are the most familiar with the weather and road conditions on their routes. When a bus is delayed, or the bus driver decides to cancel because it’s too cold or it’s not safe to drive, the driver will notify:
parents of students on their route
the Transportation Office
Our Transportation Office will send out an Alertus notification and also update the bus status schedule on the Division website. Look for the blue bus icon on the top right corner of our website homepage.
On a division-wide basis
If a big storm is brewing, our Transportation Department will gather reports from school bus drivers regarding local conditions and monitor information from the Weather Network and Environment Canada. A decision whether school buses will run or not will be made before 6:30 a.m. For safety reasons, even when buses are cancelled, schools will be open for students who can safely travel to and from school.
When all bus routes are cancelled:
An Alertus notification will be sent.
Bus drivers will contact the parents of students on their route.
We will update the bus status schedule on the division website.
Notices will be posted on our division social media and also shared by local media/radio stations.
Extreme cold weather and busing in the afternoon
In an effort to support student learning and better accommodate families, St. Paul Education may run afternoon buses during extreme cold weather under certain conditions.
Busing is cancelled if the temperature and/or wind chill in the morning is -40°C or colder. If morning buses are cancelled, afternoon buses will run when the www.weathernetwork.com/ca forecast predicts warming to a minimum temperature and/or wind chill of -35°C.
Learn more by viewing our Extreme Weather and Busing in the Afternoon Guide.
Sign up for the Alertus app
Alertus will send push notifications (pop-up message on your phone) to your cell phone advising you of any delays/cancellations or other significant changes to a respective bus route(s). Notifications through Alertus can only be sent to parents and staff who have signed up for free Alertus app. Instructions on how to download the app are available on our website at https://www.stpauleducation.ab.ca/alertus-app.
Note: The Nations of Saddle Lake, Whitefish and Frog lake make independent decisions about their buses. Please contact them directly for any questions regarding their transportation policies.
What can parents do?
Make sure your child is dressed for the weather — and be prepared for unexpected or changing severe weather conditions. Students should always wear or carry appropriate winter footwear and outerwear including headgear and gloves or mitts.
If you are concerned about sending your child to the bus stop or school because of bad weather or roads – even if our buses are running – you can always keep your child home.
For more information contact the Transportation Office at 780-645-3323 or refer to our Extreme Weather Guide and AP 131 Inclement Weather.