In the event of an extreme weather occurence, the GECDSB has developed guidelines and procedures intended to reduce the potential of health and safety implications, accidents or injuries to staff and students.
We rely on weather alerts provided by Environment Canada (which is closely monitored by the board's Health and Safety Department) to initiate the implementation of our safety and prevention protocols.
In the event of heavy fog which may make travelling unsafe, conditions are reviewed, prior to the commencement of student transportation services by the Transportation Consortium. In consultation with senior administration a decision will be made whether to cancel student transportation for the day, or a portion of the day.
The decision to cancel student transportation is made in consultation with the Transportation Consortium, which monitors the weather and have spotters review conditions prior to the commencement of transportation services for the day.
Only the Director of Education can make the decision to close schools due to weather conditions.
In extreme cold we ensure that staff and students are made aware of cold stress signs and symptoms. They are regularly reminded to:
· Dress warmly and in layers
· Keep active
· Drink warm fluids
· Avoid loss of heat in rooms by ensuring that operable windows are closed
· Outside, cover exposed skin and take breaks in warm places / indoors
Consideration should be given to reducing the amount of time students and staff stay outdoors if the temperature and the wind chill factor is -20 Celsius.
Children shall be kept indoors during recess / nutrition breaks if the temperature falls below -28 Celsius
Staff are regularly advised, and have access to administrative procedures, about heat-related safety and prevention techniques and tips:
· Consume water on a regular basis and make announcements throughout the day reminding everyone of the need to stay hydrated. Students are permitted to have requested opportunities to obtain water from fountains / dispensers and may have refillable containers at their immediate disposal at all times
· Allow air to circulate in rooms with operable windows where effective and applicable (in non-air conditioned rooms / schools)
· Portable, temporary fans should be used to assist in circulating air
· Use existing blinds, curtains or reflective coatings on windows to reduce direct sunlight
· Staff and students should prepare for hot conditions by wearing loose fitting, lightweight clothing (light colours are better than dark). Hats are recommended for outdoor activities along with sunscreen
· Alter times of day for / reduce / eliminate physically demanding tasks and activities
· Make a cool location available for staff during break & lunch periods
· If necessary relocate staff and students to a cooled location in the building
· Ensure that staff and students are aware of the signs and symptoms of heat stress
Severe Weather Hazards
In the event of a severe thunderstorm warning issued by Environment Canada outdoor activities may be cancelled. If this occurs during a field trip, student excursion or outdoor activity everyone should be relocated to a safe location.
In the event of a tornado warning, procedures from the Board's Emergency Response Management Program should be followed (under Code Tornado)