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Inclement Weather

Guidelines for school and/or bus cancellations due to inclement weather

The Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) takes great care when making the decision to alter the normal operations of schools and school busses in the event of severe or inclement weather. You can find more information below or by viewing (and printing) our guidelines.

How is the decision made to cancel school and/or busses?

HRCE staff gather information from a variety of sources beginning at 4:30 a.m., including:

  • Weather forecasts from Wood Group consulting service which provides radar and satellite imagery, real time road conditions and any weather warnings;
     
  • Consulting with a meteorologist to discuss details of forecast, level and type of precipitation and impact on road conditions;
     
  • HRCE Transportation which consults with our service providers to determine local road conditions throughout the municipality;
     
  • Municipal and provincial transportation staff for an update on road and sidewalk conditions throughout the municipality; and (Halifax Snow Clearing Standards) (TIR Winter Maintenance Standards)
     
  • Other local weather services, including Environment Canada and the Weather Network.

Who makes the decision to cancel school?

By 5:30 a.m., staff make recommendations to the Regional Executive Director of Education (or a designate), based on the information gathered and assessments of each area. The Regional Executive Director of Education makes the final decision based on this information. If it is safe to have students and staff on the roads and sidewalks, then schools will be open. If not, classes will be cancelled.

When is the decision made?

It is our goal to make the decision as close to 6:00 a.m. as possible. A 6:00 a.m. announcement could be:

  • All schools are delayed in opening by two hours and bus pickups are delayed by two hours; or
     
  • All schools are open, but some or all busses are not operating for the day; or
     
  • Some schools (either individually or by family) are closed for the day; or
     
  • All schools are closed for the day. 

What if the weather deteriorates throughout the day?

If the weather deteriorates, the HRCE can decide to dismiss students early. In the event of an early dismissal, the decision will be communicated to all schools as close to 11:00 a.m. as possible.

  • Bussed students will be picked up two hours earlier than their regular dismissal time; and
     
  • Walking students will be dismissed at their regularly scheduled lunch hour.

In the event of an early dismissal, students in grades primary to 6 will not be released from school unless parents/guardians or designates have been notified by the school.

If you have a child in junior high or high school, you should prepare and discuss a plan for what to do if schools close early.

How will I find out?

  • Check our website at www.hrce.ca
  • Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HRCE_NS
  • Call our information line at 902-464-INFO (4636)
  • Listen to your radio (All local radio stations are informed)
  • Sign up to receive e-mail or text message notification of cancellations (link)

Make sure you listen for either the Family of Schools name or the individual name of your child's school in cancellation announcements. Click here to find your Family of Schools.

New this year - Winter Stop Pilot Program

As you know, Nova Scotia‚Äôs winter weather can change from day to day, sometimes even hour to hour. This can make driving challenging, especially on rural roads. 

To improve transportation service through the winter and in keeping with provincial standards, we are piloting a Winter Stop Program for families in the Musquodoboit Rural High and Bay View Family of Schools. This pilot program runs from January 16 to March 31, 2023. Winter stops are different pick-up and drop-off locations that are used when winter weather creates challenging driving conditions.

All families in these areas were notified prior to the start of the pilot.

HRCE Transportation consults with our service providers to determine local road conditions, and may recommend implementing Winter Stops for the morning, afternoon, or the entire day. If winter stops are in effect, BusPlanner will send out a notification to families by 6:00 a.m. If winter stops are in effect for the afternoon only, notifications will be sent out by 1:00 p.m.

If you have questions about the Winter Stop Program or need help accessing or setting up a BusPlanner Parent Portal account, please contact the Student Transportation Team at 902-431-4723 or transportation@hrce.ca.

What if busses are cancelled, but schools are open?

There are times when we may decide to keep schools open, but cancel bussing due to poor road conditions. As parents and guardians, you must use your own discretion with regard to sending your child to school. Before dropping students off, please ensure that someone on staff has arrived at the school and can provide supervision.

If schools are open, meaningful learning activities will take place. Students who are unable to attend school due to inclement weather and/or bus cancellations will not be penalized if assignments are given or assigned on that day.

How can I be prepared for cancellations or delays?

Weather in Nova Scotia is unpredictable and can change with little notice. To minimize confusion, make sure you have developed a plan, and discussed it with your child.

Things to consider:

  • Do you have a back up plan for childcare if schools are closed or delayed in opening?
  • Does your child know where they are to go if school is cancelled early?
  • Is your child always dressed properly for the weather conditions, regardless of whether they travel by bus or walks to school?

Please remember: As a parent or guardian you always have the choice of whether or not to send your child to school.

Share Your Thoughts

If you wish to share your thoughts about school cancellations, click here

For more information:

  • Check our website at www.hrce.ca
  • Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HRCE_NS
  • Call our information line at 902-464-INFO (4636)
  • Listen to your radio all local radio stations will be informed
  • Sign up to receive e-mail or text message notification of cancellations (link)