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Severe Weather

Last updated on Friday, December 02, 2016.

Cancellation of School and Board Administrative Operations

The decision to cancel School and Board Administrative Operations is often a difficult call to make. Please be assured that the decision to remain open or to close is always made with the safety and security of our students and staff in mind.

In the event of inclement weather, our Transportation Department advises our carriers to drive predetermined routes to assess the condition of the roads. This is done between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. The drivers report back to the carriers and HWDSB begins to receive reports between 5:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

In the meantime, our Transportation Department is verifying the weather forecast through our local media outlets as well as contacting the City of Hamilton Works Department to determine where possible what roads have been cleared or when they are expected to be serviced.

The decision to close our schools is made in conjunction with our colleagues at the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board based on relevant information at that time.

We will make every effort to cancel all school and board administrative operations by 6:00 a.m.

School Boards across Ontario have varying polices about the cancellation of schools. At HWDSB, the cancellation of transportation due to inclement weather immediately triggers the closure of our schools. However, at its meeting of November 17, 2014, the Board of Trustees approved a resolution that allows the Director, (or designate), the discretion to keep schools open in the event transportation is cancelled due to extreme cold temperatures for the 2016-2017 school year.

Please remember, as a parent/guardian you always have the choice on whether or not to send your child to school.

HWDSB will NOT post a weather alert on its website to signal that schools are open.

For more information about this policy, please view Cancellation of School and Board Administrative Operations.

Cold Weather and Outdoor Play

Time spent outdoors is an integral part of the school day. There are great benefits when children experience fresh air, exercise and time spent time outside. Outdoor play is also a break from the structure of the classroom.

Depending on the season, preparing for outdoor play in Canada can mean anything from applying sunscreen to wear mittens and a hat. During winter, it’s important that children come to school prepared for the cold. Students should wear boots, mittens/gloves and hats and it’s a good idea to pack extra mittens, socks, etc. in case they are needed.

Principals can always use their judgment to decide whether to send students outside for recess. However, HWDSB asks Principals to follow the City of Hamilton recommendation that individuals stay inside when the temperature is at or below minus 15 degrees Celsius or minus 20 with wind chill. Questions or concerns regarding winter outdoor play should be directed to the school Principal.

Parents are encouraged to go to hamiltonschoolbus.ca to check for any potential transportation delays.

Heat Events

A heat event occurs when the weather calls for one day with a 40 or higher humidex reading. The City of Hamilton monitors weather forecasts closely and provides warning to the media and their community partners.

Once HWDSB has been notified of a heat event, the following precautionary steps will be taken for students and staff:

  • Limit physical outdoor activities
  • Ensure access to water
  • Close drapes and blinds
  • Move pupils through cooler areas of the school

For more information, or steps you can take to reduce risks during heat events, please visit the following websites:

City of Hamilton

Health Canada

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