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Lakehead board gives school bus guidelines another look

Trustees with the Lakehead District School Board have asked for a review of the guidelines that determine when students need busing.
A school bus drops off students at Churchill High School in Thunder Bay. The Lakehead District Public School Board is reviewing how far children should have to walk to school before they qualify for busing. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Trustees with the Lakehead District School Board have asked for a review of the guidelines that determine when students need busing.

The walking-distance guidelines the board currently uses vary from under half a kilometre to more than 1.5 kilometres, depending on the student's age.

Business superintendent David Wright said the board is trying to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle.

David Wright, superintendent of business with the Lakehead District School Board, says the board is trying to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle. (Submitted by Lakehead Public Schools)

"We're just ensuring that the walk distance that the board currently has in their policy makes sense from that aspect,” he told CBC News in an interview.

The guidelines used by boards across Ontario take into consideration factors such as the local climate and the availability of sidewalks.

"So, [we look at] what infrastructure is available. What is the average snowfall in the area is, what the average temperature in the area is,” Wright continued.

“What does that do in terms of creating a hardship for students walking? What does the infrastructure look like in the majority of our communities? Where are sidewalks available? Where aren't sidewalks available? Where is there a large amount of construction going on? So [boards] look at it more from a safety and health standard perspective."

The board plans to consult with parent groups and school councils, as well as the school transportation consortium.

"What the trustees have asked for is for us to gather some information, report back to them in June,” Wright said. “Everybody's going to be taking a look at this issue."

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