According to a press release, Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) students were safely transported to and from school on Friday, January 13 after the board made the decision to allow buses to run during the morning’s slushy weather.
Based on a favourable forecast, and positive reports from bus contractors who checked the conditions on area roads between 4 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., the decision was made to allow buses to run, said Superintendent David Coombs. Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worse.
Coombs also conceded that board officials were caught off-guard by Friday morning’s wet and slushy conditions, and said they would have cancelled had they known how the weather would turn.
“Hindsight is 20/20,” said Coombs. “But in hindsight, with today’s conditions, we should have cancelled.”
“Unfortunately, this is not an exact science and we make our decisions based on the best information we have at the time. We apologize for any concerns we might have caused for our students and their families.”
“At the same time, it’s also important to remember here that our students got to school and back safely.”
Coombs explained that the GM/CAO of Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario works closely with Pelmorex/The Weather Network, and bus contractors, in order to receive the most up-to-date information about local weather and road conditions.
Decisions concerning the cancellation of school bus and special vehicle transportation must be made cooperatively based upon this information by no later than 5:30 a.m.
Friday, the information conveyed was that although there would be some light patchy freezing rain in some areas, it was not significant enough to warrant cancelling buses.
There are 18 distinct zones within the UCDSB. Every zone has a captain that goes out to check roads in their area, who then provides their input. All captains gave the go-ahead to run the buses, said Coombs.
Coombs added that parents may decide to keep their child at home at any time if they feel that it is too risky to have him or her transported to school.