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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
AP 129 - Emergency School Closure

Background

The Director may close schools and/or arrange for the early dismissal of students in situations where the health and safety of students are at risk.

In the event of early dismissal of bussed students, every student shall be delivered safely to their parents/guardians or safely housed at an arranged billet.

Procedures

1.  Advance Preparations for Emergencies
1.1.  At school opening, the principal shall provide staff with information about the procedure for emergency school closure.
1.2.  Each school shall establish an emergency evacuation site (muster point) close to the school.
1.3.  Early in the school year, the principal will communicate to parents/guardians the current procedures for emergency school closure. The principal will also initiate the collection of contact information and the billeting instructions from each family.
1.4.  It is the parents’/guardians’ responsibility to provide the school with a contact name(s) and phone number(s) where they can be reached in the event of an emergency school closure.
1.4.1.  At the commencement of the school year, all parents of students who ride the bus to school shall provide the school with billeting instructions for their children in the event that the school is closed at some point other than the regular closing time and their children cannot be transported home safely.
2.  Potential Emergencies that Might Result in Emergency Closure
2.1.   School will close for students and staff if conditions are such that their health or safety is at risk.
2.2.   Situations that may put the health and safety of students and staff at risk may include:
2.2.1.  Loss of power;
2.2.2.  Loss of heat;
2.2.3.  Inadequate water supply;
2.2.4.  Sewer back-up;
2.2.5.  Illness, epidemic;
2.2.6.  Structural damage to the school building;
2.2.7.  Gas leak; and
2.2.8.  Other situations.
3.  Procedure in the Event of an Emergency School Closure
3.1.  In the event of an emergency closure or an early dismissal, the principal shall assess the situation and consult with the Director of Education regarding appropriate action.
3.2.  Further consultation with Facility and/or Transportation Services may also be appropriate, depending upon the nature of the situation.
3.3.  Feeder schools or schools with feeder school enrolment must contact Transportation Services as early as possible, if school closure will necessitate bus transportation.
3.4.  In extreme emergency situations, the principal may exercise her/his professional judgment and take the appropriate action without consultation.
3.5.  If the decision of the Director of Education or designate is to cancel school or dismiss students early:
3.5.1.  The principal shall:
3.5.1.1.  Notify school personnel of the decision;
3.5.1.2.  Ensure that all students are accounted for;
3.5.1.3.  Ensure that all parents are notified;
3.5.1.4.  Determine that every student has adequate supervision in the home in the event that the school is closed at some point other than the regular closing time;
3.5.1.5.  If it is not possible to get students home, but conditions are such that they cannot remain in school, they must be billeted or moved to the school’s emergency evacuation site or transported to another school; and,
3.5.1.6.  Initiate the spread of information about the emergency closure to the larger school community using the most effective means available;
3.5.2.  The Director of Education will notify the sub-division trustee and other members of the Senior Leadership Team;
3.5.3.  The Transportation Services Department shall arrange for bus drivers to be notified immediately to arrange the transportation of students home should closure happen during the school day before regular closing time;
3.5.4.  The school bus drivers shall, in the event that the school is closed at some point other than the regular closing time, verify that every student has adequate supervision in the home before dropping students off.

Reference: Sections 85, 87, 108, 109, 175, Education Act

September 26, 2014
Revised October 13, 2017