Information Re: Weather-Related Cancellations/Closures

We have received a number of questions from members of our school communities about how the TDSB makes the decision to cancel buses and/or close all schools and we wanted to provide some important information that will explain the process.

A number of factors are taken into consideration when deciding on the cancellation of school buses, programs and/or closure of schools. The decision to cancel buses is not typically made due to unsafe road conditions, but because we want 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’s also important to keep in mind that, unlike other schools boards across the Greater Toronto Area, a vast majority of TDSB students — more than 90 percent — do not use school buses.  That means, if school buses are cancelled, it is still possible for students to get to school by walking, public transit or other means — although it may be slower than normal. We do understand, however, that for our congregated sites or where we bus all students to the school, the majority of students are affected. On Wednesday, February 6, school buses were cancelled, however approximately 170,000 students attended school despite the inclement weather.

Further, since different areas within the Greater Toronto Area have different weather patterns and geography, the decision made for one school board will differ from another. For example, recently the public and Catholic school boards in Toronto, York and Durham remained open, while other boards, including Peel, were closed.

As we hope you can appreciate, the decision concerning whether to keep schools open or closed has a major impact on the lives of many families in Toronto. Those families depend on us to provide educational opportunities for their children each and every day.

Should all schools be closed, it causes significant hardship for many families. For a number of them, there are no other options readily available for their children. The decision to keep schools open allows families who are able, to keep their children at home, but also provides another option for families, who are not able to do the same. As always, we emphasize that parents/guardians make the final decision about whether to send their children to school. The TDSB supports whatever decisions parents/guardians make on days of severe weather. With regards to staff, we also understand that some may have difficulty in making into work or may experience delays. In those cases, we understand and encourage staff to speak with their Principal/Manager as there are Miscellaneous Days that may be able to be applied depending on circumstances.