BROCKVILLE – If the buses aren’t running, don’t bring your kids to school. That is the message from the Upper Canada District School Board as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced that board to change its inclement weather policy.
Pre-pandemic, if bus transportation was cancelled due to inclement weather, schools would remain open for students to attend, including students who normally walk to school.
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the cohorting of students into classroom “bubbles”, that practice has changed. Before the pandemic, the standard practice of schools would be to combine or pool different classes together on a snow day. With classroom “bubbles” in place, classes cannot be combined.
“For the 2020-2021 school year, schools will be required to close when school transportation is cancelled due to poor weather conditions,” said UCDSB Director of Education Stephen Sliwa in a letter to parents sent November 16th.
Teachers still travel to their school if it is safe to do so, or connect online to support remote learning. Classwork will be available online for students home because of a snow day, ending one benefit of a day off of school, no class work.
School work will be available on the digital learning platforms used by the board, either Brightspace Desire to Learn (D2L) or Microsoft Teams. Classroom teachers will be available during school hours to help students via remote learning. Students unable to access online learning on a snow day won’t be graded negatively because of it.
Students who live inside urban boundaries and walk to school cannot attend school in-person that day. Privately run daycare providers in UCDSB facilities may still offer programs, but parents should check with their daycare for further details.
“This decision comes after considering student and staff safety during the pandemic, while ensuring there is a continuation of learning on snow days/inclement weather days this season,” Sliwa explained. “The safety of our students and staff remains a top priority with the UCDSB.”
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader