KITCHENER -- Tuesday's wintry blast cancelled school buses and in-class learning for all students in Waterloo Region, marking the first virtual school snow day.

It's the first time since September that all students in the region are logging on for virtual school. Thousands of families were alerted in the morning.

"I was kind of like, 'I have school work?' because normally I don't do school work on snow days," said student Amelia Fischer.

Other students said they weren't assigned much work.

The Waterloo Region District School Board changed its snow day policy in mid-November.

Now, if school buses are cancelled due to bad weather, all schools will close because students can sign in for class at home.

"It's frustrating because if you don't have the flexibility to stay home now you have to figure out how to have your kids do school while you're doing work from home, or you're having to give up going to work so that your kids can now be focused and get their work done at home," said her mother, Elaine.

Public school board officials said that they keep the learning going is a priority in light of how much school students have already missed.

The director of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board said the changes are part of new pandemic protocols.

"We could not ensure that we would not have to blend cohorts, as that is a frequent reality on inclement weather days, and thus we made the decision to declare a remote learning day when we cancelled buses," a statement from Loretta Notten said in part.