Students left waiting after Halifax area school buses called off roads

While schools in Halifax were open Monday, a last-minute message about buses being kept off the roads because of weather meant many students waited for a ride that never came.

“Our oldest comes back in with a friend and says the bus didn’t arrive,” said parent Lawrence Conrad. “The bus driver came in his own vehicle and basically said schools are open but buses aren’t running.”

At around 5:50 am, the Halifax Regional Center for Education (HRCE) tweeted that schools were open and buses were running.

But at around 7:50 am, HRCE tweeted again that their transportation providers decided to keep their buses off the roads because of weather.

HRCE has three student transportation providers: National Passenger Services, Southland, and Student Transportation of Canada.

“Communication is key,” said parent Tayna Conrad. “HRCE and the contractors need to communicate with each other and those decisions. If they make them first thing in the morning, they either have to stick with them or they both change their decisions.”

Students who had already arrived at school by bus before the cancellation were picked up and brought back home, while families were left making arrangements to pick up children who only use the bus at the end of the day.

Paul Wozney, president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, said attendance was significantly down in some Halifax schools.

“The optics are schools are open and students are learning but anybody with common sense understands on a day like today, where most of your students are at home for reasons beyond their control, you don’t teach new material on a day like today, Wozney said.

“Today is a placeholder day where you help students who are present, catch up.”

In a statement to CTV Atlantic, Nova Scotia Minister of Education Minister Becky Durham says she recognizes the disruption this morning’s bus cancellation had on families.

Durham says she reached out to the HRCE for information on how the last minute decision was made, and how it was communicated.

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