Every student attending public or Catholic schools in the Cochrane area will be dismissed early on September 2.

With Tour of Alberta coming through Cochrane during dismissal time, Rocky View Schools (including Westbrook and Bearspaw) and Calgary Catholic School District (Holy Spirit and St. Tim's) has decided to dismiss at noon on the 2nd.

Three potential actions could have been taken to handle the traffic closure, says Murray Besenski, RVS, Associate Superintendent."The first one would be to have schools close for the day and not have school at all. The second one we believe was early dismissal- so having all schools dismiss at noon, the third option we thought was having a late dismissal, so dismissing after the roads would have been open and some time would have elapsed for the traffic to dissipate."

Besenski feels they have picked the less disruptive.

"We felt the least disruptive to students and parents at this point would be to have an earlier dismissal."

The school year could have possibly been postponed, adds Besenski, had RVS had enough time to communicate the postponement.

"We did look at the potential of starting after Labour Day, that would have been a greater possibility had we known about this event and the impact it would have on the community and us as school system if we had known back in June; so we could coordinate, change our timetable, change our scheduling, change everything that would have been required, and informing parents."

Moving this year's start day with only having a couple weeks notice before first day; would have been very difficult.

"It's really difficult to ensure all parents are aware, all students are aware and trying to make that change; because Alberta Education does have minimum expectations of number of hours students must be in school, if we had planned in June, we could have changed our calendar. What we would end up having to do is find an additional 11 -12 hours that we would have to put back into the calendar as the year progresses."

Besenski adds busing will run as normal for RVS.

"Other than the earlier dismissal than normal that Friday, the bus routes will be exactly the same. Behind the scenes in order to accommodate all the schools dismissing at the same time and being able to have our buses off the road prior to the road closures somethings had to be coordinated. But from a parent and child perspective their bus route will run as normal."

Extra buses will come from Springbank (prior their dismissal time), although their driver will be different on the drive home the route will be exactly the same.

RVS only learned of the whole package a week ago, and while it is not ideal timing, they are trying to do the best with a difficult situation.