AP 750: Severe Weather
Health & Safety
Alberta experiences significant weather changes. Extreme heat or cold temperatures, wind chill, smoke, snow and ice, or severe storms can potentially be detrimental to an individual’s safety and/or impact road safety.
An Administrative Procedure for Severe Weather exists to enable the Superintendent, or the school Principal, to modify certain elements of the school day, in alignment with foreseeable safety concerns.
1. Parents hold the ultimate responsibility for deciding when to send a child to school and/or whether to travel by school bus.
2. The Superintendent reserves the right to modify or cancel any aspect of the school day, school transportation and/or school events.
3. Any decision made to modify school access, educational opportunities and/or transportation shall always occur in full consideration of student and staff safety.
4. Schools shall remain open for students until such time as it is deemed no longer possible to do so.
Modification to the School Day or School Activities
5. Weather indicators, included in this Administrative Procedure, shall guide the determination of response required for modification of activities; however
5.1. Weather is unpredictable and varies, from region to region, within the Division and, therefore, modification or cancellation of activities may be specific to local areas within the Division; and
5.2. The Principal reserves the right to amend or cancel any activity, in the interest of student safety, regardless of the degree of severity of the weather indicator.
6. Modification of the school day and/or school activities shall proceed based on the following determination:
6.1. The Superintendent or designate may modify or cancel transportation, and/or modify or cancel events or activities, in consideration of any weather indicators (listed below) that may negatively impact safety;
6.2. The Principal or designate may cancel or modify any school activity in consideration of any indicators (listed below) that may negatively impact safety; notably:
6.2.1. The degree of concern for modifying or cancelling curricular (mandated) activities may be greater than the degree of concern for extra-curricular activities in which the parent holds the ultimate responsibility for approval; and
6.2.2. In consideration of the indicators below, parent permission may be utilized to operate extra-curricular (and therefore voluntary) events at upper thresholds of the weather indicators.
Weather Indicators for Amending and or Cancelling Activities
7. The Superintendent or Principal shall consider specific indicators in amending or cancelling school activities, or school transportation;
7.1. For clarity, the indicators are used in the consideration of determining how a specific activity may be impacted by a specific type of weather.
Provincial Weather Indicators:
7.2. Any notification of severe weather, for any type of weather, received through Alberta Emergency Alert.
Cold Weather Indicators:
7.3. Temperature, experienced with or without wind-chill, of -40°C or below;
7.3.1. For the Athabasca Delta School, temperatures at or below -45°C will apply for school bus cancellation.
7.4. Outdoor activities, greater than 10 minutes, at any temperature at or below -23°C;
7.5. Snowfall accumulation greater than 10 cm overnight; and
7.6. Snowfall removal plans for primary and/or secondary roads.
Hot Weather Indicators:
7.7. Temperatures that exceed 32°C;
7.8. Humidex values that exceed 30; and/or
7.9. Daily UV index exceeding 5.
Air Quality and/or Wind-Speed Indicators:
7.10. Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) within the range of 4 to 6, and dependent on local conditions and the nature of activities; notably:
7.10.1. Air Quality will require continuous monitoring as the quality can change rapidly;
7.10.2. All outdoor activities require cancellation at AQHI 7 and above;
7.11. Sustained wind-speed at or greater than 70 km/h or gusts to 90 km/h or more.
Rainfall and/or Hail Indicators
7.12. Rainfall and/or hail deemed to be excessively uncomfortable for students in outdoor-activities, or any event with rainfall exceeding 50 mm per hour.
Unexpected Weather Indicators:
7.13. Weather may change quickly in Alberta, and any significant change in weather conditions, for which students and staff are not prepared, may necessitate an altered plan for transportation and/or school events or activities.
Transportation Risk Indicators:
7.14. Visibility of less than one (1) kilometre;
7.15. Reports from bus drivers and/or counties or municipalities that rural roads are, or will soon be, impassable;
7.16. Current and/or forecasted freezing rain prior to, and during, transportation service times;
7.17. Reports from similarly affected neighbouring school jurisdictions regarding their plans; and
7.18. Cautionary reports from Alberta Transportation when available.
Notification regarding student transportation alteration or cancellation
8. Should the Superintendent or designate determine that it is necessary to cancel or amend student transportation:
8.1. The Director of Transportation Services shall arrange for the school bus drivers to be notified immediately;
8.2. The Superintendent, or designate, shall initiate an expedited spread of appropriate information to the schools, families and regional transportation partners, through electronic mass distribution (i.e. emergency contact services) and appropriate local media;
8.3. Schools shall communicate any changes or alterations to the day, due to weather, as prudent to do so; and
8.4. Schools shall remain open.
Severe weather impact on the school day:
Whereas severe weather may cause the cancellation of transportation, with schools remaining open for learning, the weather may become severe enough to require an early dismissal or modification to the location for learning.
9. In the event of emergent severe weather, an early dismissal may be deemed to be necessary in extreme circumstances and approved by the Superintendent or designate:
9.1. The Principal shall consult with the Superintendent or designate to determine the potential utilization of the school’s alternate emergency site; and
9.2. The Principal shall ensure that effective planning and appropriate parent contact occurs so that all students are safely delivered to a parent or guardian in a prudent and timely manner.
Severe weather impact on learning:
10. When transportation is cancelled, Parkland School Division’s schools shall remain open for learning as deemed possible to do so.
10.1. Severe inclement weather, that necessitates the cancellation of transportation services, also has a significant impact on families and the safe conveyance of students to schools; learning and activity plans shall be amended to encourage families so as to not place themselves at risk when bus transportation is cancelled.
10.2. Our schools’ intention shall be to maintain learning, while providing options for our families, with the highest regard for safety.
10.3. Teaching and learning opportunities during transportation cancellation may vary depending on the number of students who are learning from home, balanced with the number of students who are able to attend school, and this may differ from class to class or grade to grade within schools across the Division.
10.4. Communication about any inclement weather learning plans are ideally provided in advance of cancellation, and especially in those situations where there is sufficient time provided for a severe weather notice.
10.5. Parents and students may reasonably expect that it may not be possible to provide learning plans in advance of the transportation cancellation.
Supporting Student Learning:
11. Teachers shall endeavour to balance the learning-outcome requirements of students who have arrived at school with the learning-outcome requirements of students who are remaining at home. Notably:
11.1. Teachers may distribute new or ongoing learning tasks through familiar online platforms and/or monitor and support learning tasks already in process; and
11.2. Teachers may check-in with students when possible and prudent to do so:
11.2.1. The check-in process may vary depending on the quantity of students at home versus the quantity of students at school; and
11.2.2. Parents shall not expect that synchronous learning (learning at the same time as the class) is available, given that teachers may also be responsible for students who are at school.
12. Parkland School Division shall adhere to Alberta Education’s guidelines with regard to missed Diploma Examinations or Provincial Achievement Tests.
With respect to the severe weather protocol at school:
13. With respect to the weather indicators listed above, the Principal may modify or cancel outdoor or off-site activities, at any time, when considered necessary to do so;
14. Students may be directed to remain inside, due to the cancellation of outdoor activities and/or recess activities; and
15. The Principal may approve offsite or occasional activities beyond the thresholds set in section 7 above, as per Administrative Procedure 280 – Offsite Activities.
16. Whereas schools typically remain open during weather cancellation events, the Superintendent reserves the right to cancel the school day, including the closure of schools, in consideration of extreme weather events and the potential for a life-threatening impact on student or staff safety. With respect to closure:
16.1. School closure shall only be considered in extreme circumstances and “closure” shall indicate that the school is physically closed and therefore no drop-off is possible;
16.2. In the event of a full-school closure, all available efforts shall be made to notify the students’ families accordingly;
16.3. When and where possible to do so, alternative sites for learning may be provided; and
16.4. Transportation services shall be cancelled to and from the closed school.