As winter weather has arrived the District of Thunder Bay, we are reminding all students and parents to be prepared to adjust to school bus delays and cancellations due to poor weather and road conditions. Not only is it important to dress warmly while waiting for the bus, parents and their children must have a plan in place for what to do if the bus doesn’t arrive or what will happen if busing is cancelled.
One of the most challenging decisions for Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay is whether to cancel busing during inclement weather. The process starts at 5:00 a.m. with the STSTB Consortium Manager receiving reports on weather and road conditions from our contracted bus companies who compile information from experienced, professional school bus drivers living throughout the district. Additional information is obtained from the MTO and municipal road crews and Environment Canada. After reviewing all the data and further consultation with the school bus contractors and area roads maintenance supervisors, the Consortium Manager then decides whether to cancel busing. The decision to cancel is then relayed to the Directors of Education, or their designates, for each school board via conference call for confirmation by 6:30 a.m. Any further decision to close schools remains solely with each school board’s Director or designate.
With such a large area, it is not unusual for weather to be bad in some parts of the district and not others. However, to limit confusion, bus cancellations fall under one of only two scenarios, either Rural-Only or System-Wide (rural and city). As many rural high school routes cross more than one school zone and transfers occur at rural elementary schools it would be confusing to narrow Rural-Only cancellations down to only specific areas. Therefore a rural closure affects all rural areas. Parents may get frustrated if roads in their area look fine, however, travel elsewhere in the district that the bus their child rides on may be unsafe.
Student Transportation Services of Thunder Bay understands that cancelling buses in inclement weather has a big effect on families; however, student safety is our number one priority, so there are times we simply must cancel busing in the interest of keeping everyone safe. Once again, we remind all families to have an alternate plan in place should busing and/or schools be closed.
School Bus Transportation Cancellation notices can be found at:
- STSTB Emergency Weather Closure phone number: 625-1661
- Local radio stations