On Friday 8 February, as meteorologists predicted almost 30 cm of snowfall for what turned out to be the most serious snowstorm since 2011, the police, the Canadian Automobile Association , and school boards across the province urged students to stay off the roads. The TDSB, however, remained open.
School boards in Halton, Hamilton, and Peel, as well as the McMaster University, York University, and parts of the University of Toronto were only part of a long list of institutions that decided to keep their students home on Friday.
Students, anxious to plan for the day, began checking for a decision on Thursday night, but the TDSB’s decision did not appear until early Friday morning. All TDSB school buses were cancelled, but classes were not.
The Ontario Provincial Police reported at least 340 collisions on Friday, and urged drivers to refrain from driving if possible. The TDSB followed this advice by asking their contracted school bus drivers to cancel their service, but students themselves were left without a way to get to school. Many students were able to walk to school, but those who required the use of a car or the TTC found themselves
being driven in decidedly unsafe conditions.
The school’s distaste for the TDSB’s decision was clear. Students, teachers, and administrators all told The Reckoner that they believe that schools should have been closed today. Many classes were covered by on-call teachers, and those teachers who did show up to their classes found the student turnout too low to conduct a useful lesson.
The TDSB’s justification for such a decision was unknown. Both the school’s trustee Gerri Gershon as well as the Director of Education were unavailable for comment.
In the afternoon, Principal Goldenberg announced that the scheduled after-school staff meetings were to be cancelled, and that all students were to vacate the building at the end of classes at 1:45 PM. But for the MGCI community, this was not the end of Friday’s freak snowstorm.
The trip home yet awaited.