Snow interferes with return to in-person classes in Toronto-area COVID-19 hot spots

TORONTO — Winter weather disrupted the reopening of schools in three Ontario COVID-19 hot spots where in-person classes were set to resume Tuesday, with some students forced to rely on virtual classes a little longer.

Public and Catholic school boards in Peel and York Regions said their schools remained closed and bus service was cancelled Tuesday due to poor weather, though classes continued virtually.

“Parents Do NOT send your child to school today,” the York public board said in a tweet.

The Toronto District and Toronto Catholic District school boards, meanwhile, said schools were reopening as planned, but no transportation would be provided as a result of the snowfall.

“As more than 93 per cent of TDSB students who are currently attending in-person school do not use a school bus, schools will remain open,” the public board said on Twitter.

In-person lessons were slated to restart in those regions after a stretch of online learning that began in January as part of a provincial lockdown.

The three regions are the last in Ontario to have students return to physical classrooms — the provincial government allowed other regions to reopen shuttered schools in phases over the last few weeks.

A more detailed COVID-19 screening form must now be filled out by students or their guardians every day before coming to school.

Students in Grade 1 and above will also be required to follow provincial health guidelines and wear a mask whenever they’re indoors and during outdoor recess when physical distancing is not possible.

The province is also expanding asymptomatic COVID-19 testing at schools.

Snowfall also caused some school boards in the Toronto and Hamilton areas to call off both virtual and in-person classes Tuesday.

The Halton District and Halton Catholic District school boards said all their offices would also be shuttered as a result of the weather.

The Hamilton Wentworth District School Board said its child care centres were closed alongside its in-person and remote classes.

The region’s Catholic board, however, said students would have access to asynchronous online learning.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2021.

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