Dear parents and caregivers,
With the hot weather now upon us, it is timely to remind our school community of weather changes in our region which may affect school events or routines; including fires, storms or flooding.
These weather events specifically impact students who travel to school by bus. The Gympie school bus system is heavily interlinked, with most bus runs dependent on other connecting bus runs.
During severe weather events in the Gympie region, schools consult with and take direction from the Local Disaster Management Group and our relevant governing authorities in relation to school closures or changes to bus routines.
I ask that you familiarise yourself with the below severe weather instances and how the school may manage student safety (should they occur).
Please note in the event of a severe weather, the school has rigid risk-management guidelines in place, with student and staff safety our highest priority. In the event of severe weather, you are strongly encouraged to continue to check your email, the school website and/or the school Facebook page for updates. Blanket text messages may also be sent to your nominated phone number.
Violent storms are not uncommon in our area during the summer season. The risk posed to staff and students occurs as a result of exposure to the impact of wind, rain and or hail.
In the event of severe and inclement weather, students will be kept safely inside away from effects of the storm. They will not be allowed to travel to and from buildings.
Students will be retained until the storm has passed and are safe to leave school.
We strongly discourage parents from attempting to pick up students when is risk is imminent.
If required, we will arrange delayed departure for bus transport.
Depending on the timing of the storm, the following two options are considered most likely:
• Altered lesson or break lengths to minimise exposure of students to inclement weather. This process will be managed by the activation or deactivation of the school bells along with messages to staff to advise of the situation.
• The length of the school day may be altered. This will normally be the result of afternoon storms. In this instance, we will hold students in classes until the event passes. This may mean that we need to extend the day for our staff and students. In this event, the school will coordinate the buses to delay their runs.
While fires are unlikely to impact schools themselves, they do pose a threat to the safe transport of students to and from school (via buses or other means).
In the event of a fire, if you have concerns about your ability to get your student/s to and from school safely, we ask you to consider keeping them at home until such time as you deem it safe to travel.
In the situation where a fire may directly impact the school grounds and persons onsite, we will communicate with parents to arrange for the safe transportation of students and evacuation if necessary.
Flooding tends to have two (2) categories – localised flash flooding and general riverine flooding.
In periods of prolonged heavy rainfall, the school actively monitors water levels at major creeks and river crossings via the Gympie Regional Council Disaster Dashboard. This allows us to predict with some certainty when roads would become impassable. Bus runs that travel low-lying routes may be cancelled ahead of time after periods of heavy rainfall and predicted flooding. This alleviates the possible need to run the buses earlier than normal on the day.
In unpredicted riverine rises, it is possible that buses will collect students from school and return them home early. In this situation ALL buses will run as per their normal afternoon schedule at an earlier time. It is important that we consider not just the safe transportation of our students’ home but also the safe return to town of our bus operators and school staff.
In both instances, parents and caregivers will receive advance notice via text message and email home.
In the event that a bus service is unable to run due to local short-term road closure the options are:
1. manage through parent communication to facilitate the pick-up of students and/or the making of alternate arrangements for them.
2. The enacting of all buses to run earlier than normal as per riverine flooding.
In any severe weather event, families are encouraged to tune-in to local media, monitor weather conditions, heed the warnings and follow instructions from emergency services.