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Coronavirus: Remote learning impacts school bus cancellations, snow days in Guelph

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Just as Guelph gets a blast from Old Man Winter, the public and Catholic school boards have announced how bus cancellations and snow days will work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The changes will not sit well with students as they eliminate snow days because remote learning has become all the rage in 2020.

Read more: No snow days at Waterloo public schools this winter

“Emergency school closures, when schools are closed to staff and students, have the potential to significantly impact student learning,” said the Upper Grand District School Board in a post on its website.

“During the 2020-21 school year as a result of pandemic planning in the board, schools are much better equipped to pivot to remote learning as needed than in the past.”

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Bussing students in Guelph and the surrounding area is handled by Wellington-Dufferin Student Transportation Services, which breaks down the area into divisions. Guelph is in Division 1 — Yellow.

If the buses are cancelled for elementary schools, both the Upper Grand and Wellington Catholic district school boards say schools in Guelph will remain open to students.

For public high schools in the city, schools will be closed if the buses are cancelled and students will pivot to remote learning for the day.

The four Catholic high schools will remain open if the buses are cancelled.

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Things are a bit different for schools in Wellington County and it can get a bit confusing, so here’s a quick break down for each division in each board:

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Wellington Catholic

Division 1 (Guelph): If there is a bus cancellation in Division 1, schools will remain open to students.

Division 2 (Elora, Fergus, Rockwood, Erin): Schools will remain open in Division 2 if there is a bus cancellation, with the exception of St. John Brebeuf Catholic School, which will pivot to remote learning.

Division 3 (Arthur, Mount Forest): St. Mary Catholic School in Mount Forest and St. John Catholic School in Arthur will be closed if the buses are cancelled and students will have access to remote learning.

Upper Grand

Secondary schools across the board will close for the day if buses are cancelled and all students will pivot to remote learning for the day.

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Division 1 (South Wellington, Puslinch): Elementary schools will remain open to students as usual if the buses are cancelled.

Division 2 (Centre Wellington, Erin, Rockwood): Elementary schools will remain open to students as usual if the buses are cancelled.

Division 3 (North Wellington): Elementary schools will be closed to students who will pivot to remote learning for the day.

Both boards have said the changes affecting the rural schools are because staff members at those schools have a tough time getting to class due to poor road conditions.

Historically, those schools would just combine classes or groups, but that’s not possible anymore due to COVID-19.

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Students are reminded to check the status of school buses on the Student Transportation Services website.

As of Sunday night, it was not known if buses would be impacted on Monday morning due to the heavy snowfall.

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