Emergency dismissal procedures
In cases of severe weather, there may be instances where Saskatoon Public Schools invokes our emergency dismissal procedures. Each school principal is responsible for developing a contingency plan for the emergency dismissal of students and ensuring that all parents and guardians are aware of the plan. Parents and guardians will receive information and instructions through the school division's Everbridge Notification System. Information about how Saskatoon Public Schools uses Everbridge to communicate with parents and guardians is available here.
In cases of emergency dismissal, the following procedures must be followed:
- All students must be advised of the reason for the dismissal (e.g. impending severe weather).
- Depending on the situation, secondary students may be dismissed on their own with the offer of assistance if needed. The school’s administrative team is available for support. For example, if the weather is very cold and students who drive to school cannot start their vehicles, they should be advised to return to the school until a parent or guardian can be contacted. Students should not attempt to walk home unless a member of the school staff determines it is safe to do so.
- In the case of secondary students who take city transit to school, the school division's manager of transportation works with the City of Saskatoon to arrange for earlier access to city buses.
- Elementary students who are not bused to school are not allowed to leave the school until a parent or guardian has been contacted and comes to the school to pick them up. Adequate staff coverage will be provided at the school until all children have been picked up by a parent or guardian. If a student is picked up by someone other than the parent, (after permission has been given by the parent) the student must be signed out. It's very important for families to ensure their emergency contact information is up to date so that school staff can contact parents and guardians quickly and efficiently. Please provide a telephone number at which you can be reached immediately.
- In the case of elementary students who are bused to school, the school division's manager of transportation works with our transportation providers to arrange for early bus pick-up, if school buses are still running. If school buses are not running, students are not dismissed until a parent or guardian picks them up and signs them out of school.
- In the case of students who are transported to school by taxi, the school division's manager of transportation works closely with the taxicab companies to arrange for early cab pickup.
- The school’s principal is responsible for providing, or arranging for, safe accommodation of students who cannot get home. In extreme circumstances, students and staff may have to remain at the school overnight.
Cancellation of classes or school closures
School closures due to severe weather are very rare. When a school is closed it means the building is locked up and no one is in the building.
In cases of severe weather (e.g. a blizzard with zero visibility, snow and extremely cold temperatures) Saskatoon Public Schools may cancel classes, but closing buildings is a rare occurrence. If classes are cancelled, we will do our best to have a staff member at the school during times of inclement weather in case a student shows up at the school. However, storm conditions may prevent this from happening.
Many factors are taken into consideration when deciding to cancel classes, but the safety of students and staff is the first consideration.
What parents/guardians need to do
- Have alternate arrangements in place for their children in case classes are cancelled.
- Children should know where to go if parents or guardians will not be at home and know how to contact them.
- Parents should ensure their emergency contact information is kept up to date at their child's school. If emergency phone numbers change, please inform school staff in the front office. Please provide a telephone number at which you can be reached immediately.
- In cold weather students should be dressed appropriately. No one can predict when a school might have to be evacuated due to fire or another emergency.
- As primary caregivers, parents and guardians need to decide what is best for their children. The option to keep children at home when weather conditions are extreme is at the parent's discretion. As a school division, we have a responsibility to educate your child. Saskatoon Public Schools works to minimize any interruption to your child's education. Classes are interrupted only on rare occasions.