Message from the Director - November 23, 2023

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Dear Families,

It’s been an eventful month, and I wanted to reach out to all of our families to provide some important updates and information from across our system. 


Cyber Incident

YRDSB experienced a system outage that began the evening of Wednesday, November 8. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your patience while we worked to restore services following network outages as a result of a cyber incident. We deeply appreciate the work of our staff who continued to deliver high quality public education and to restore services. 

It’s usually our practice to keep all of our families updated regularly on things that affect our students, our staff and our schools. However, in this case, the network outage was both the issue and what prevented our ability to communicate with our staff and families. I imagine you have had many questions over the past week. While we are happy that we are gradually regaining access to our networks,website and email, regretfully at this point we still don’t have all of the answers. 

Our ITS team has been working closely with third party experts, including those in legal and technical fields. We have also engaged law enforcement and are fully participating in their investigation. As part of our due diligence, we are also conducting our own full investigation into what occurred, its effects on our network and what steps can be taken to prevent this from reoccurring.

As we have more information we are able to share about this investigation, we will continue to be transparent and share this information. 


Reinforcing schools and workplaces as safe, welcoming and inclusive places to learn and work

I also want to acknowledge the challenges our students, families, staff and communities have faced these past months related to the conflict taking place in the Middle East and the effects that this is having, not only globally, but also locally. 

Our students and families continue to look to our schools to reinforce the strong sense of community, support and inclusion that have made our schools safe and welcoming places to work and learn. I want to thank all of you for modeling calmness and compassion in what is certainly a time of volatility for so many.

All of us play an important role in ensuring that our students feel safe, welcome, respected and included in our schools and workplaces. I encourage all of us to speak with kindness, whether in person or online, and show our students and members of our school communities the greatest compassion and support.

Earlier in October, I posted a public statement about the potential for the increase specifically in antisemitism and Islamophobia.  Any acts of hate affect those targeted and the whole school community. Any act of hate will not be tolerated in YRDSB learning and working environments and we will continue to use the Protocol for Addressing Incidents of Hate and Discrimination. Students and families can report incidents of hate, bullying or other concerns through Report It, the Board’s anonymous online reporting tool.  


Winter Weather

With the arrival of winter weather, we wanted to provide some important reminders about the steps we take to keep students safe when severe weather occurs. 


School Transportation Cancellations

School transportation (buses and taxis) may be cancelled due to extreme cold or inclement weather. On these days, schools will remain open unless otherwise stated. If school transportation is cancelled in the morning, it will also be cancelled in the afternoon. Any special or hot lunch days and field trips will also be cancelled. 

Families should use their best judgment to decide whether to send their children to school on extreme cold or inclement weather days. Students will not be penalized for missing school on those days. For safety reasons, please ensure you  let the school know if your child will not be attending school that day. 


School Closures

Emergency closures will be considered when conditions may not be safe for students and staff members to attend school for the full day. This may include events that significantly limit school operations or access to the school site (e.g., widespread, prolonged power failures or downed power lines).

In keeping with our current practice, we will continue to keep our schools open as much as possible. However, it is important that families have alternate childcare arrangements planned for the rare occasions when schools may be closed. Before and aftercare programs will not operate if schools are closed. 


Communication to Families

Decisions about school transportation and school closures will be made as early as possible and no later than 6:00 a.m. We will do our best to notify families in advance when we may be considering closing school and Board offices. Transportation cancellations or school closures are communicated through:

For more information on severe weather days, please visit our website


Messages from the Ministry of Education

Please see the message from the Ministry of Education on addressing bullying and financial literacy


Health Reminders

As winter approaches, it is also a good time to review how to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

Screening: Students and staff who have symptoms of illness can take the COVID-19 self-assessment here. Individuals can screen daily for signs of illness and stay home when sick.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)/Masking: Masks are not required for students, staff and visitors in schools, school board offices, or on student transportation, however YRDSB learning and working environments continue to be mask-friendly. 

COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs): All Ontario School District School Boards will have continued access to RATs until December 31, 2023. RATs are available to staff/students on request. RATs are also available through other locations, including at your local pharmacies. 

Vaccines: Vaccination is one of the best ways to protect you and your family from COVID-19 and the flu. Everyone aged 6 months and older is able to get their COVID-19 and flu vaccines now. Book your appointment at or call Access York (1-877-464-9675). You can also get vaccinated at a participating pharmacy, doctor or nurse practitioner. Learn more about the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccines.

Cleaning protocols/funding: YRDSB will continue to review our cleaning protocols to ensure we always meet current public health requirements.

Ventilation: School-specific ventilation information is available centrally on the Board’s website.


Thank you for your ongoing partnership. 



Bill Cober