OTTAWA -- An eastern Ontario school board plans to close all elementary and secondary schools on snow days this winter.

The Upper Canada School Board says all schools will be closed on days when transportation is cancelled due to inclement weather, citing the need to maintain classroom cohorts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In the past, when bus transportation was cancelled due to poor weather, schools remained open for students and some classes would have been blended together to continue learning activities while maximizing supervision.

In a note to parents and guardians, the Upper Canada District School Board says due to COVID-19 protocols in schools, blended-classes on snow days "cannot happen" with the requirement to maintain existing cohorts.

"As well, we can’t guarantee proper supervision for each cohort as road conditions may not permit all staff to travel to their schools," said the UCDSB note to parents.

"For the 2020-2021 school year, schools will be required to close when school transportation is cancelled due to poor weather conditions."

During inclement weather days, students will be provided material for remote learning days to learn at home.

More information will be provided from the teacher or school in the near future.

"This decision comes after considering student and staff safety during the pandemic, while ensuring there is a continuation of learning on snow days/inclement weather days this season," writes Stephen Sliwa, Director of Education for the Upper Canada District School Board.

"The safety of our students and staff remains a top priority with the UCDSB."