Why Hamilton's public school board cancelled school Monday

John Malloy, director of the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, sent out a letter explaining the board's decision to cancel school on Monday.
The board made its final decision on Flamborough, east Hamilton and Mountain schools on June 16. (Terry Asma/CBC)

With many parents surprised and confused by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board's decision to close schools, board director John Malloy has issued a letter to parents on the cancellation.

"Many of you likely woke up this morning surprised that HWDSB schools and board administrative buildings were closed due to winter storm conditions," John Malloy wrote. "The decision to close is always a difficult one, but is made with the safety and security of our students and staff in mind."

Early Monday morning, the school board announced that all schools were closed for the day due to the weather. The Catholic District School Board cancelled buses, but the schools remained open. Many parents and students questioned the decision as the morning quickly turned into sunny, clear weather.

"Parents and students are quick to share their feelings with us when we cancel operations, or when we do not. We appreciate their candour," Malloy expressed. He said the decision has to be a quick one very early in the morning, based on what information the board has about the road conditions for the day. He also noted the HWDSB automatically closes schools if buses are cancelled.

"Our advice from transportation is that the roads were unsafe," public school board spokesperson Jackie Penman told CBC Hamilton

The decision to close was made based on "the safety of students," she said, adding that once the decision to close is made, it would be "very hard to open schools in the middle of the day."

Malloy's letter offered a little more explanation for the decision, but no apology for the call.

"Thank you for the understanding that you extend to us when we make these challenging decisions. In the end, I know that we share a deep concern for the safety of all students and staff."

On Twitter, many people questioned the decision to cancel classes: