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How Toronto school boards make the snow day call

File photo of a woman walking her daughter to the school bus in Indianapolis, Jan. 25, 2013. AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Charlie Nye

Kids across Toronto were up early listening to news reports eagerly awaiting a two-word announcement: snow day.

Toronto District School Board (TDSB) spokeswoman Shari Schwartz-Maltz had a simple message for parents for Friday morning: “check the website and watch the news.”

The TDSB and its Catholic counterpart share transportation so they confer about bus cancellations, but students were likely hoping for more drastic action — like the call the boards made two years ago when a storm threatened to dump 30 centimetres of snow in the GTA.

Both boards cancelled school buses on Friday morning.

The Toronto school boards decided to cancel classes on Feb. 2, 2011, during the infamous “Snowmageddon” when forecasters said a massive storm would hit the GTA. The snowfall total fell well-below the forecast coming in around 10 centimetres.

Spokewoman Emmy Milne of the Toronto Catholic District School Board said the decision to close schools is a “very uncommon scenario.”

“Both boards decided jointly that given what was being forecast in terms of road conditions and hazardous driving … they opted to close the systems down,” she said of the 2011 class cancellation.

Schwartz-Maltz said the two boards would discuss transportation problems first thing Friday morning.

“At 5 a.m. when we know there’s adverse weather, the head of the [transit] consortium will confer with both the head of the TDSB busing and the head of the Catholic board, and they make the decision about busing,” she said.

“For a full snow day, that’s the call of the director of education for the TDSB,” she said. “So if it’s really bad, she’s in on the call too and they’ll make the decision about whether or not to close schools.”