Grand Erie Prepares for Winter with Inclement Weather Reminders
With the first glimpse of snow this year, Grand Erie District School Board is reminding students and families of how the Board deals with inclement weather.
“While we typically average just one or two snow days a year, last winter Grand Erie had seven of them,” said Brenda Blancher, Director of Education. “While we hope last year was an anomaly, we feel it’s important for our community to understand how the Board responds when Mother Nature throws snow, ice or freezing rain at us.”
Grand Erie’s Inclement Weather Policy (FT7), found on the board’s website here, was updated in May 2019. The policy outlines the procedures for the cancellation of transportation services, which typically triggers school closures – either by zone or across the whole district.
Student Transportation Services Brant Haldimand Norfolk (STSBHN) provides transportation services for Grand Erie students as well as those from the local Catholic and French Catholic school boards. During the winter months, STSBHN gathers information on road and weather conditions from various sources, including City and County road crews as well as weather specialists. These road and weather conditions are then discussed with the Superintendents of Business at each of the three area school boards.
“Our focus is always on the safety and well-being of our students,” said Rafal Wyszynski, Grand Erie’s Superintendent of Business. “The decision to cancel student transportation is made when we believe the forecasted road conditions will not allow for the safe delivery of services during the morning or afternoon travel times when we have thousands of our students on buses all across Grand Erie. Transportation is also cancelled when visibility is expected to be significantly impacted.”
When student transportation services are cancelled due to inclement weather, there are two options: closure of all Grand Erie schools or closure by zone. Grand Erie has four zones: Norfolk County (Zone 1), Haldimand County (Zone 2), Brant County (Zone 3) and City of Brantford (Zone 4). Zone 2 includes Grand Erie students from Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
When student transportation services are cancelled due to inclement weather, Grand Erie schools are closed to all students and staff.
The decision to cancel student transportation services due to inclement weather is made by 6:30 a.m. If Grand Erie schools are closed, the decision will be posted on the board’s website (www.granderie.ca), Twitter account (@GEDSB) and shared with local media. STSBHN will also communicate the decision to riders, post on Twitter (@STSBHN) and share on their phone line (519-751-7532, ext. 7).
“We understand the decision to close schools puts enormous pressure on parents who have to scramble for last-minute child care,” said Blancher. “However, the safety and well-being of our more than 25,000 students must remain our focus. We don’t want to see any of our students injured or put in harm’s way.”
New to Grand Erie’s Inclement Weather Policy in 2019-20 is the option to cancel transportation services when there is extreme cold weather. In this case, student transportation services would be cancelled, however, all Grand Erie schools would remain open to students and staff.
Extreme cold weather negatively impacts the operation of buses. Extreme cold weather in Grand Erie’s Inclement Weather policy is defined as -30 degrees Celsius (without wind-chill) at 5 a.m. or a high risk of frostbite (10 minutes or less) as of 5:45 a.m.
Grand Erie District School Board represents more than 25,000 students in 58 elementary and 14 secondary schools within the City of Brantford and the Counties of Brant, Haldimand, and Norfolk.