Most Toronto schools will reopen for in-person learning Wednesday

Toronto’s two biggest schools boards will reopen for in-person learning tomorrow following a massive winter storm that kept its buildings shuttered for an additional two days.

The Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.

The TDSB cited the “significant progress” the city has made in clearing major roads and side streets as the primary factor in its decision.

The board also noted that the “vast majority” of its schools have now been plowed, with that work expected to continue into tomorrow morning.

“While delays are still possible, students and staff will more easily be able to travel to schools/sites given significant plowing operations underway in the GTA,” the board said in a memo to parents.

Schools were closed for in-person learning for the first two weeks of January amid the spread of the Omicron variant.

They were initially supposed to reopen on Monday but a major winter storm that dumped 36 centimetres of snow on the city interrupted those plans.

On Tuesday boards across the GTA were closed for a second straight day as the cleanup from the storm continued.

Some boards offered remote learning but the TDSB abandoned plans to do so after staff found that it "didn't go over well" on Monday, according to spokesperson Ryan Bird.

The Toronto Student Transportation Group said school buses will be running, but that there may be delays as some buses and yards are still being cleared. It advised families to check for possible delays in the morning.

The York Region District School Board said Tuesday evening that it is also “looking forward to welcoming students back to class tomorrow.”

The Peel District School Board and Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board  said in-person learning will resume for those registered for that option Wednesday.

Halton District School Board said kids in its system will return to in-person learning as well.

In a tweet, Durham District School Board said “we anticipate that schools will be open,” but advised that there could be delays in getting to schools. The Durham Catholic District School Board said that it is “optimistic” schools will reopen Wednesday, but said it will advise families as it gets more information.

Lecce and Moore release open letter to parents

Tomorrow will mark the first day that public school students in Toronto are able to partake in in-person classes since Dec. 21.

Ahead of the broader return for students across most of Ontario, Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore released a joint letter to parents outlining some of the steps the government is taking to ensure a safe return to school, including the distribution of 3.9 million rapid antigen tests to school boards this week.

Lecce and Moore also said that some parents will receive a form in the coming days offering them the opportunity to have their children vaccinated at a school-based clinic during instructional hours.

Those “targeted clinics” are taking place at select schools chosen by public health units.

“We are taking nothing for granted,” the letter states. “Health and safety in our schools and child care settings remains a top priority and we continue to monitor to ensure that every precaution is taken to protect children, students and staff and to keep our schools and child care setting as safe as they can be.”

The Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board has said that all of its schools in Clarington will be closed for a third straight day on Wednesday as the cleanup from the storm continues.