Lisa Gervais: Bus cancellation season
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | January 25, 2018|
When I was a kid, at least from Kindergarten to Grade 2, I walked to school. So, school bus cancellations – if there were any back ‘in the day’ – didn’t affect me.
On really snowy, or stormy, days my dad would fire up the trusty, school bus yellow-coloured
Bombardier, and take us on the back of that.
I switched schools in Grade 3 and there was a long bus ride but I remember very few bus cancellations then or, later, in high school.
Well, it’s that time of year again for the Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB). Bus cancellations are becoming a regular occurrence and people like me are starting to tell those stories about ‘in my day.’
Clearly those days are gone.
A quick perusal of the TLDSB website finds that the decision to cancel buses is made in conjunction with bus operators as soon as conditions are known in the morning. Decisions are made for each area of the school boards independently, as weather conditions vary. These are Haliburton County, Muskoka and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Further, If buses are cancelled in the morning, they will not run in the afternoon.
The schools are still open of course and parents and guardians can drive students. However, it can force a juggling act on the home front. Sometimes, it’s just easier to leave the older kids at home as those in charge rush off to work.
We made this topic our Eye on the Street question this week, asking people what they think about cancellations. I ran into a couple of adults at the Minden library Tuesday morning.
“I know in our day, we didn’t have snow days,” the woman told me. “We, as well, walked miles to school.” However, she conceded we live in a rural area where people live far from schools, particularly Hal High, so there is no option to busing. And, we have our share of backroads so there are going to be school bus cancellations, she said.
Another woman completely backed the school board and operators’ call, saying safety comes first.
We even talked to a Hal High student, forced to go to the Minden library to study for her exams Tuesday because one, the school bus had been cancelled and two, the power was out at her place. The student told us she’s all for snow days. She’s not a huge fan of school. But, in the middle of exam week, she would have preferred to be in school than at the Minden library.
And, still, another person commented that there must have been a lawsuit somewhere and that is why school boards and bus companies are so cautious.
There’s no doubt that fear of joint and several liability does, no pun intended, drive some of the decisions that are made in this day and age. School boards and bus companies do err on the side of caution. That means, some days the weather does not pan out as predicted and we are left scratching our heads as to why buses were cancelled. Other times, Mother Nature follows predictions and it turns out to be a good call.
It’s hard to knock an organization or business for putting safety first. Our school children are preci
ous cargo. So, the next time you start complaining about bus cancellations, stop and remind yourself that… well … your day is done. It’s a whole new world now.
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.