January 21, 2019 6:34 pm

Durham school bus service cancelled because of ‘extreme’ cold weather

School buses in Durham Region took the day off as extremely cold temperatures posed a safety risk to students travelling by bus.

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Students who normally ride the bus had to find a different way to get to school Monday, as frigid conditions across Durham Region caused the organization that oversees student bussing to put the brakes on all bus routes.

Durham Student Transportation Services (DSTS) decided to cancel its rides to and from public and Catholic schools because the area’s extreme cold weather had a high chance of causing its buses to not start or fail while on the road, according to a statement from the organization.

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“This could lead to delays for students waiting at bus stops, exposing them to extreme low temperatures for longer than average wait times,” said the statement. “Safety of our students and exposure to extreme wind chill effects is our first priority.”

Extreme cold weather warnings, such as the one issued Monday, are put out when very cold temperatures or wind chills create a higher-than-normal risk to health, including the potential for frostbite or hypothermia. Environment Canada expects temperatures to fall below -20 C, and with light winds, the weather agency predicts wind chill values will dip to -30 at night.

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For different reasons, many families throughout Durham chose to keep their kids at home Monday, says crossing guard Craig Belgue. He said that near Dr. S.J. Phillips Public School, which is next to his crossing post in Oshawa, he helped half the kids he normally does — he usually crosses 60 kids but on Monday, he saw only 30.

“It’s brutally cold,” said Belgue. “I didn’t see a lot of traffic coming into the parking lot so I’m thinking they’re at home.”

The DSTS statement mentions the majority of schools from west of Toronto to far eastern Ontario and north to Algonquin Park also cancelled bus service Monday.

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