Final reopening plans for Hamilton schools still being worked on as classes reopen in days

Elementary teachers and students in Hamilton's public school board will have to wait one more day for their final timetable this school year. Local school boards will also meet Wednesday about buses.

School bus plans and public school elementary timetable still being developed

Hamilton's public school board is facing another delay as classes are set to open in days. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Hamilton school boards are still trying to finalize busing plans and other significant details as classes reopen as early as Wednesday.

Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board and the public board are meeting tomorrow on the local busing situation, which is in a dire state due to a significant shortage of bus drivers.

Pat Daly, HWCDSB chairperson, told CBC buses will still reach students in the Catholic board who start school tomorrow and that parents will receive more information today.

Parents will be able to find out their child's stop time, location and route number using the Bus Stop Finder portal and their child's Ontario Education Number (found at the top of their report card).

It's another last minute adjustment in a summer full of twists and turns that has frustrated educators, parents and students.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is also pushing back its plan to hand out final timetables for elementary schools by one day.

The public board posted a notice online telling families it is still reorganizing elementary staff and that instead of the timetables being ready for Tuesday, they will be done Wednesday.

"Please check back at that time and disregard the current timetable information in this section," reads the notice.

Shawn McKillop, the board's spokesperson, told CBC staffing continued into the weekend and schools received their final staffing placements in the late afternoon on Saturday.

A row of desks in a class.
High school students at HWDSB will have classes with no more than 15 students in them. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

"School superintendents told school administrators on Friday they they could complete their class lists and elementary timetables by Sept. 9. We originally communicated today as the date," he said.

"They will already be learning about their students and preparing their classrooms. The delay is because class lists need to be entered into our student information system digitally to be seen in the portal by parents."

The board delayed the start of school in case it needed more time for a situation like this one.

On Thursday, Hamilton public schools will begin junior kindergarten orientation and scheduled meetings for students with special needs to help them transition into schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes start next week.

Attention parents, students and teachers: We want to hear from you!

We hope you'll use this form to tell us about school conditions, how classes are going or whatever other pressing issues are on your mind this September in Hamilton, Niagara, St. Catharines and Burlington.


Bobby Hristova is a journalist with CBC Hamilton. He reports on all issues, but has a knack for stories that hold people accountable, stories that focus on social issues and investigative journalism. He previously worked for the National Post and CityNews in Toronto. You can contact him at bobby.hristova@cbc.ca.