On Monday 11 February, the TDSB sent a letter to parents about Winter Weather using the School Messenger service. A copy of the text of the letter is reproduced below.
February 11, 2019
Environment Canada is once again calling for a winter storm for Toronto and surrounding area with a wintery mix expected on Tuesday. With this in mind, I wanted to provide you with some important information about how the TDSB makes the difficult decisions surrounding the cancellation of school buses, programs, and/or the closure of schools due to winter weather.
A number of factors are taken into consideration when making these decisions. On days with severe weather, staff are up very early to look at current and forecast weather conditions, road conditions, and advice from our bus carriers, among other pieces of information. In consultation with the Toronto Catholic District School Board, the decision on school buses is then made. The decision about school buses is sometimes made because it has been determined driving conditions are too unsafe. The decision is sometimes made to avoid having students wait for unusually long periods of time in inclement weather for a bus or remain on that bus for hours due to weather-related traffic delays. It is important to note that, unlike other school boards across the Greater Toronto Area, a vast majority of TDSB students — more than 90 percent — do not use school buses. Also, as the Greater Toronto Area may have different weather and road conditions, the decision made for one area will differ from the decisions made in another area.
As I hope you can appreciate, the decision concerning whether to keep schools open or closed has a major impact on the lives of thousands of families across Toronto and that is why we strive to keep them open whenever possible. Should all schools be closed, it causes significant hardship for many families, some of which have no other options readily available for their children.
Parents/guardians make the final decision whether they wish to send their children to school during days of extreme weather. The TDSB supports whatever decisions parents/guardians make on these days. Students will not be penalized.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with this important information. While days of winter weather like we are expecting tomorrow may result in delays getting to and from school/work, I want to reassure you that the safety of our students and staff is always top of mind when making these difficult decisions and we would never put that at risk.
Director of Education