The TDSB continues to do everything we can to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Daily self-assessments, regular hand washing, mask wearing and physical distancing are some of the most important things we can do. In addition, according to Toronto Public Health, increasing fresh air is an important strategy in our schools and classrooms.
Over the past few months, the TDSB has checked all mechanical HVAC systems to ensure they are operating as designed, increased the frequency of filter changes, adjusted systems to increase the amount of fresh air and reduce recirculation, added portable HEPA air filter units in classrooms where mechanical ventilation is not an option, and opened windows where possible.
As we head into the colder months of the year, open windows will continue to be an important step to increase fresh air in classrooms and schools. Toronto Public Health is recommending that windows in classrooms should be opened for a period of time, at different points of the day to introduce fresh air into the space and increase air flow. While heating systems will be turned up, we still expect that schools will be cooler than normal.
We recognize it is very much a balance between introducing more ventilation at various times during the day and maintaining a comfortable indoor air temperature in classrooms. Please keep this in mind as your child gets ready for school each day by considering an extra layer of clothing to ensure comfort throughout the day.
From time to time, it may be necessary to cancel student transportation, classes and/or programs because of severe weather. On rare occasions, severe weather makes it necessary to close schools, administrative offices or sites.
With approximately 246,000 students in 582 schools, any decision to cancel buses, classes and/or programs or to close sites can have a significant impact on thousands of families across Toronto. This decision is not taken lightly. When schools remain open on days with inclement weather, parents/guardians make the final decision on whether to send their children to school and they can keep children home from school if they so choose.
If Environment Canada forecasts poor weather conditions (including ice and significant snow), the Toronto Student Transportation Group (TSTG), the TDSB and Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) teams will assess and monitor the situation overnight and into the early morning in order to determine any necessary bus cancellations and school closures.
- If Busses are Cancelled: As more than 93% of TDSB students who are currently attending in-person school do not use a school bus, schools will remain open. Families must make alternative arrangements to transport their children to school. Students who receive bus transportation receive updates regarding their transportation via TSTG.
- If Busses are Cancelled and Schools are Closed: The decision to close schools (which would include child cares and Extended Day Programs) will be determined by the TDSB and the TCDSB by 6 a.m. in order for families to make alternative arrangements. In addition to updates being posted on the TDSB website and on Twitter, families will receive a notice from School Messenger only if schools are closed. *Please note that Virtual Schools will not operate and we will not be providing remote learning on days when schools are closed due to severe weather.
It’s important to note that when schools remain open on days with severe weather, parents/guardians make the final decision on whether to send their children to school and they can keep children home from school if they choose.
While the Severe Weather Procedure remains the same as it has in previous years, the current COVID-19 pandemic will be an important factor in any decision we make and we will ensure that all necessary health and safety precautions are being followed. With that in mind, staff will continue to closely monitor severe weather impacts on TDSB students, families, staff, and operations, and adjustments will be made if necessary. Please know that the safety and well-being of all students and staff is deeply important to us at the TDSB and we will continue to consult with Toronto Public Health regarding any necessary changes that be needed.
We encourage you to keep this information for your reference at home. Should you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your child’s school principal.
Thank you for your ongoing support.