Inclement Weather Cancellations for Families

The winter weather will soon be upon us, and that means increased chances for bus or school cancellations in all or part of Niagara.

As a reminder for families who are familiar with the process outlined in our School Operations for Inclement Weather and Workplace Closure AOP – and as information for those who are new to Niagara or Niagara Catholic – the decision to cancel buses is made by Niagara Student Transportation Services very early in the morning, based on the current and forecast conditions to ensure students are safe throughout the day. NSTS makes its decision with bus companies, and consults agencies such as Niagara Regional Police about whether buses are safe on the roads. They communicate the decision to the local school board directors of education, who decide whether to open schools or keep them closed for the day. Niagara Catholic communicates decisions about bus and/or school cancellations by 6 a.m. You will find the information in the following places:

  • On this website – a red banner appears on the main page when buses and/or schools are cancelled
  • The Board’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages
  • Local radio and TV stations and newspaper websites

Most often, buses are cancelled but schools remain open. If you choose to keep your child at home due to inclement weather, you must report their absence using the appropriate code through Safe Arrival. If you are keeping your child at home on a day when schools are open, or if schools are closed, you may wish to access asynchronous learning resources during the day. These resources are available here.

Please keep in mind that driving a car is much different than a bus, and even though roads seem fine to drivers in personal vehicles, the conditions (such as snow drifts) may make it impossible for school buses to navigate through neighbourhood streets, particularly if they are not ploughed.

As well, we remind families that buses can be cancelled if the temperature falls to a point where stop arms and other mechanical parts required for the safe operation of the vehicle may freeze. We understand that may be frustrating for parents on a bright, cold, snow-free day, but the safety of students is the top priority of the school bus companies, NSTS and Niagara Catholic and if the buses cannot operate safely due to the cold, transportation will be cancelled.

Living between two lakes can mean completely different weather in parts of Niagara. Occasionally, that leads to bus cancellations or school closures in one part of Niagara due to weather, while the rest of the region is unaffected. We encourage you to please check our website and social media feeds for accurate information to ensure that what you are reading online applies to you.

If the entire system is shut down, we will call, email and text your family using School Messenger by 6 a.m. to advise you it’s a snow day. You do not need to report your child’s absence from school, as schools are closed.

Although weather systems do blow through without warning, we usually have some idea that bad weather is coming and we encourage families to be prepared for this, especially if parents have to work while children are at home.

If your child is staying home due to a bus cancellation or a school closure, they will have the opportunity to participate in asynchronous learning from home. Click here for Kindergarten, Primary, Junior, Intermediate and Secondary literacy, numeracy, and other subjects for students to keep up with work if that is what you choose to do. Please note that participating in this work is voluntary, and should be considered as revising or reach-ahead work, rather than teacher-led new learning.

Secondary students may also review any classroom work or reach-ahead where possible if they choose to do so.


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