WATCH: Mark Carcasole explains why the TDSB kept classes open while other school boards called it a snow day.
TORONTO – Many school boards across the Greater Toronto Area declared a snow day on Monday as a strong winter weather system moved its way through the region.
But absent from the list of closures was the largest school board in Canada with approximately 250,000 students – the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
READ MORE: School closures and public transportation delays for Feb. 2
Although bus service was cancelled, schools remained open and here’s the official explanation why: According to the board, the TDSB is “unique” when it comes to student transportation.
WATCH: Heavy snowfall moving through Southern Ontario, including the Greater Toronto Area, has caused blanket conditions across major highways and roadways.
“The TDSB is unique compared to other school boards across the GTA. We only have 10 per cent of our student population that actually takes school buses, so technically 90 per cent of our kids could still make it in to school if they can,” Ryan Bird, a spokesperson for the TDSB said in an interview.
“The fact remains though; it’s really up to parents, guardians.”
Bird says the schools also stay open so parents who aren’t able to arrange childcare can bring their kids somewhere.
VIDEO: The Monday, February 2, 2015 weather forecast for Toronto, Ontario and the surrounding area.
The board says thousands of parents would have trouble finding alternative child care arrangements “at a moment’s notice” if schools are closed.
“In some cases, it may not be possible and may result in children being left alone at home without supervision,” said the board.
READ MORE: Heavy snowfall causes treacherous road conditions in southern Ontario
The board says the decision to close schools is made early in the morning by a team of administrators composed of the director, associate directors, transportation and communication staff.
The board’s public affairs team then informs the media of their decision by 6:00 a.m. to be shared with the public by 6:30 a.m.
WATCH: February has had a rough start as the GTA was blasted overnight and Monday morning with fierce winds and snow. Needless to say, the commute wasn’t pretty. Sean O’Shea reports.
Who decides if students should have recess inside or outside?
This decision is typically made at the school level depending on local conditions which can vary widely across the city. But in some cases, a board-wide directive may be issued.
How are daycare centres affected by weather decisions?
Daycares are independent from the school board. Any cancellations or closures of daycares will be communicated to parents by the daycare and not the board.