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Sunday , 20 September 2020

Bus drivers asking NLPS board how cold is too cold to run school buses

How cold is too cold to cancel buses?

Some Lac La Biche area bus drivers wrote a letter to the Northern Lights Public Schools board asking to change the temperatures that schools close, so buses can be cancelled.

Currently, NLPS cancels classes when the weather -40 degrees with no windchill or -45 degrees with windchill, which is the only temperature guideline the school division has.

They would like to see it changed to -35 degrees with no windchill and -40 degrees with a windchill.

Communications director for Northern Lights Public Schools, Nicole Garner, said the issue will be looked at by the transportation committee.

“Some of the things they talked about is they’ll need to take a look at what are other school divisions doing? What are the temperature thresholds that they have set? What’s the impact?” said Garner.

“If we do that, will that result in more days where buses are automatically cancelled if we set that? Then what’s the impact of that on instruction? And then what’s the cost.”

The concern is that some of the newer buses have a tougher time in the extreme cold conditions and are worried about the possibility of breaking down during the deep freeze and how long a rescue bus would take.

This became a focus for many parents as well during the recent cold spell in the Lakeland with a consistent week of temperatures hovering around the -40 degrees mark.

“We hear that a lot from the parents too. How cold is too cold for you not have classes? What we say is it’s always a parent’s decision on any given day whether to send their kids to school or not.

“Even on days when classes aren’t canceled, the buses are canceled. If a parent doesn’t feel they can safely get their kids to school at the temperature that is being experienced in the area of that on that morning then they can keep them at home.”

Bus cancellations can be due to other factors beyond extreme cold, including slippery road conditions, or other adverse weather conditions.

They hope to have the issue addressed by the end of the school year.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connect Media. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.