Toronto's public and Catholic school districts have cancelled school bus transportation on Friday, June 25 over concerns about the expected traffic congestion as the G8 and G20 Summits get underway.

"We do not want to subject our students to the possibility of spending extended periods of time on buses that are not able to manoeuvre around traffic congestion," Ann Peron, the Toronto Catholic District School Board's director of education, said Friday in a letter to parents.

“This is a proactive decision and while we understand the inconvenience this may cause, the care of our students continues to be our priority,” said Chris Spence, the Toronto District School Board's director of education, in a news release.

Corrado Maltese, the health and safety manager for the Catholic board, told CTV News that many of the students who use school buses have special needs or are medically fragile.

The board didn't want a situation where those children were left waiting for buses that had been seriously delayed. "It was way too much risk," he said.

"It's a prudent thing to do that the vast majority of our parents would understand," Maltese said.

The boards said that they have been advised by the G8/G20 Integrated Enforcement Team to expect traffic congestion and delays from June 24 to 28.

The G8 Summit in Huntsville starts on June 25, a Friday, but delegations are expected to start arriving the day before.

The G20 Summit in Toronto takes place on June 26 and 27, a weekend.

Between the two boards, between 40,000 and 45,000 students could be affected by the moves, Stuart Oakley, a spokesman for the TDSB, told CTV News.

About 16,000 TDSB students are transported by bus, he said.

Most schools will be open next Friday. However, the TDSB is closing six schools Thursday and Friday which are near the G20 security zone. The summit will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre at Front Street West and John Street.

Two Catholic schools will also be closed on those days, but students at those schools will be finished exams by Wednesday, June 23.

As with severe weather days, it’s up to parents to decide whether to transport their children to school or keep them home on June 25, Oakley and Maltese said.

Oakley did note that secondary students are writing exams now and will be done in the next week. While the official last day for elementary students is June 30, he said the final few days will be relatively low-key.

Security developments

At a former movie studio on Eastern Avenue, busloads of police officers arrived Friday to pick up boxes of gear, preparing to step security operations ahead of next week's G20 Summit.

The boxes contained equipments such as ball caps, helmets and gas masks.

CTV Toronto's Alicia Markson reported that the studio, which will be utilized as a temporary holding centre for any arrested protesters, will also be used as staging grounds for police officers on the G20 detail.

About 3,500 Toronto police officers are to be involved in summit security, supplemented by 1,600 other officers from around the province.

The RCMP will be responsible for security within the so-called inner zone around the convention centre.

JTF2, the secretive special forces unit of the Canadian Forces that is trained for counter-terrorism and hostage rescue operations, will be on standby.

One iconic aircraft that might be seen over the skies of southern Ontario during the summit is Marine One, the helicopter used to transport U.S. President Barack Obama.

CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss the helicopter's presence won't be confirmed until closer to the summit's start. But he said the White House press office told him that the distance between Toronto and Huntsville, about 220 kilometres, is typical of the distance that calls for the use of Marine One.

The helicopter comes equipped with special communications and anti-missile equipment.

With reports from CTV Toronto's Alicia Markson and Paul Bliss