Inclement Weather — Bus Cancellation and School Closures

What is AP 132 — Closure of Schools Due to Inclement Weather?: The Division takes precautions with respect to the welfare of students and staff coming to or going from school. When road or weather conditions jeopardize the safety of students and staff, schools will be closed and/or bus runs canceled. However, school closures and bus run cancellations will not always be made on a system-wide basis due to the large geographical area covered by the Division.

To view AP 132 in its entirety, CLICK HERE. 

To view the AP 132 Quick Fact Sheet, CLICK HERE.

When are buses cancelled?

  • Air temperature in excess of -40 degrees Celsius regardless of wind conditions. In instances where the air temperature is between -30 degrees C and -40 degrees C, the wind chill factor may be considered if it creates a temperature in excess of -40 degrees C with the wind chill factor included.
  • Dangerous road conditions and/or poor visibility (e.g. heavy snowfall, blowing snow, freezing rain, heavy fog).

Buses cancelled & schools closed

The decision to cancel bus runs and close schools is made by the Transportation Manager and Superintendent after appropriate information is gathered from each of the school areas. This decision will typically be made prior to 6:00 am but may be made earlier if clear and compelling information is available from Environment Canada or other credible sources.

  • Bus drivers have the individual authority to cancel their route (after consultation with the Transportation Manager), or decide not to stop at a particular pick-up site if they feel the weather/road conditions warrant such action.
  • In the event a bus driver decides not to run their route, or stop at a particular pick-up site, they will contact the Transportation Manager with the appropriate information. The School Bus Driver will then contact parents on the route and inform them of the decision.

Why are schools closed when buses cancelled?

To ensure safety, AP 132 provides the following guidelines:

• If there are extreme weather conditions to the degree that WCPS will not run buses, we also believe conditions are
not safe for students to be traveling to school, and will close schools accordingly to ensure safety.
• WCPS’ mandate is to provide a safe and caring school division. Closing schools on these days ensures we are doing
everything possible to keep students safe.
• Despite many urban schools having fewer bus students, many feeder bus routes travel from rural areas to urban
schools.
• Not feasible to close one school and leave others in the same community open, as weather impacts a region, and
families could have students in more than one school.
• We have seen tragic consequences when drivers venture on dangerous roads, including in an Alberta school
division in 2018, with a fatality of a teen driving to school.
• Safety must remain a priority. 

Did you know?: WCPS schools have only been closed an average of 2.5 days per year over the past 8 years, due to inclement weather.

Year 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018
Days Closed 6 4 0 3.5 1 1 1 4

Did you know?: WCPS bus more than 4,100 students, 57% of our student population, over a total distance of more than 40,000 km per year. 

Did you know?: WCPS staff still attend their school sites, unless deemed unsafe to do so.

Did you know?: WCPS plans for more than the required instructional hours to buffer in case of school closures.

We know: Finding childcare is challenging, and we truly appreciate parents making arrangements.