GUELPH – Two schools in Wellington County will close this year when buses are cancelled.
Centre Peel Public School outside of Drayton and Kenilworth Public School are the only institutions within the Upper Grand District School Board that will close when buses are cancelled.
Within Wellington County, the decision to cancel buses lies with the Wellington-Dufferin Student Transportation Services.
“They have procedures that are common for all five school boards in the Wellington/Dufferin region,” said Upper Grand spokesperson Heather Loney. “So the decision to cancel buses is made by the transportation consortium after consultation with the bus operators.
“School board directors are informed of this decision, usually before 6am and then transportation will post the information on bus cancellations on their website by 6:30am.”
However, while school boards don’t make the decision to cancel buses, they do make the decision to close schools.
A coterminous board, representing all the school boards in the county, takes into account the recommendations of the bus operators and the transportation consortium for factors such as temperature, windchill, blowing snow, visibility and the forecast throughout the day.
“They make the decision together whether or not to close schools,” Loney said.
However, the case at Kenilworth and Centre Peel is a little different.
Loney explained that when buses are cancelled those two schools close to students.
“Staff are still going to schools on those days, it’s just the school is closed to students,” Loney said.
At one time there were more schools, including East Garafraxa Public School, Laurelwoods Elementary School and Primrose Elementary School to name a few, that also closed when buses were cancelled.
However, through annual reviews and consultations with local police services, municipal road staff and feedback from families, Loney said those three were taken off the list this year and the only two schools that will close when buses are cancelled are Kenilworth and Centre Peel.
Part of the reason is that Kenilworth and Centre Peel are in remote areas that are difficult to access in winter conditions and have limited access routes that are often closed in the winter.
“If a road is closed this could potentially put student safety at risk,” Loney said.
Another consideration was the lack of residential housing near the schools.
“There are very few homes nearby that could take in students if there was an emergency,” she said.
For information about bus cancellations visit stwdsts.ca. Parents can also register for email alerts and check on bus delays from the site.
For information about school closures visit ugdsb.ca or individual school websites.
Both the Wellington-Dufferin Student Transportation Services (@stwdsts) and Upper Grand District School Board (@ugdsb) will also tweet updates.