Snow has weighed heavy on student attendance in schools this year.
There has been an average of four bus cancellations and two system shutdowns in Wellington County, Guelph and Dufferin.
“That is a lot. Those system shutdowns are rare. They don't happen often. There are some winters where they don't happen at all,” says communications officer Heather Loney at the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB).
It is important to note the distinction between bus cancellations and system shutdowns and the decision makers in each scenario.
The Wellington-Dufferin Student Transportation Services makes the decision to cancel buses when they feel is appropriate. When this happens, schools remain open. The UGDSB makes the decision for a system shutdown when they feel is necessary and when this occurs, buses are cancelled and schools are closed.
“We have been experiencing more winter weather, more extreme weather this winter than in recent years passed,” says Loney.
Southern Ontario has witnessed its fair share of storms this winter and with what the Weather Network calls ‘the blockbuster” winter storm of the season coming on Tuesday, the bus cancellations and system shutdown numbers might go even higher.
As of Feb. 11., South Wellington and the City of Guelph had three bus cancellations, Centre Wellington, the Town of Erin, and the Town of Rockwood had four, North Wellington had four and Dufferin County had five according to information provided by the Wellington-Dufferin Student Transportation Services.
Students, parents and teachers are urged to check the transportation website for bus cancellations. The UGDSB sends alerts for system shutdowns through phone and email. It is also available on their website.
Loney also clarified that kids who miss school due to the bus cancellations do not get penalized for missing school. She says regardless of how many students attend, it remains an instructional day and teachers adapt to the classroom depending on how many students are present.
The school has not altered its academic curriculum to adjust to the nonattendance and there has been no discussion to change the academic year as of yet.
The Wellington Catholic District School Board did not immediately respond to a request for comment.