Some northern Alberta students and teachers are facing an unusually large homework load after schools cancelled bus service during a cold spell that resulted in dangerous driving conditions.

The recent temperatures and conditions forced Elk Island, Parkland and Wild Rose school districts to cancel buses—in some cases, until today.

“What that has meant in some of our rural schools that don't have any students that can walk to school, is very close to zero percentage on some of those days,” explained Greg Wedman, Wild Rose School Division superintendent.

Some students have missed nearly a week of class.

“Some of our high school teachers in Drayton Valley and Breton won't have seen some of the students this semester until today,” Wedman said.

Most districts include extra hours in their curriculum in anticipation of severe weather.

“You don't plan for the minimum—then something like this impacts you,” said Parkland School Division Deputy Superintendent Mark Francis. “You can plan for more so you can roll with these types of changes.”

However, if the cold snap continues: “We’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Francis told CTV News he was confident the curriculum buffer could accommodate continued extreme weather.

But already, staff and students are feeling the effect of missed school days, especially students preparing for post-secondary.

And all students are seeing heavier homework or cancelled trips to make up for lost time.

“What it means is that we need to be more efficient during the other time and it might be mean some other things that they drop, the not so important parts of the curriculum,” Wedman said.

With files from Regan Hasegawa