Peterborough school authorities to close schools Monday in case of CUPE strike | – Global News | Team Cansler

Both public and Catholic education authorities in Peterborough will close their schools this Monday as education workers begin a full-scale strike.

In letters to parents and guardians, both the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPR) and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNC) say they cannot safely operate their schools if educational workers are part of the Canadian Union of Public Employees introduce a stage strike from Monday 21st November, which means a complete suspension of services.

The union gave the province a five-day notice period on Wednesday.

It follows action taken by both school boards earlier this month when CUPE education workers suspended services on Friday 4th November and Monday 7th November.

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KPRDSB Director of Education Rita Russo and Board of Trustees Chair Steve Russell say the decision to close schools was not taken lightly.

“But without CUPE education staff on the ground, we could not ensure that our schools are safe for all students,” they explained. “This approach is based on the supervision of the students; medical care and support for all students; safe operation of water and sanitation systems, including required water flushing; School building and classroom conditions and general safety and security.”

KPR will have more learning plans in the coming days. For students enrolled in virtual schools, programming will continue as usual.

When schools are closed on Monday, daycare centers are allowed to remain open, but pre- and after-school programs, daycare centers and institutional partner programs will be closed.

In a statement, PVNC said schools would close on Monday and all students would transition to distance learning until further notice.

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“Class teachers will switch to synchronous learning on Monday. This is learning that takes place with the teacher in real time using a variety of communication tools,” the board explained. “For students enrolled in our virtual school, programming will continue as usual on Monday.”

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The board says CUPE workers play a “vital role” in their schools and hopes the union and the province can reach a tentative agreement to avert strikes.

Families are asked to check their emails regularly over the weekend and follow developments in the world of work in the media.

Both school boards have schools in Peterborough, Peterborough County, Northumberland County and parts of the Durham region. PVNC also has schools in the town of Kawartha.

The French Catholic school board Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir – which has a school in Peterborough – said in the event of a CUPE strike, synchronous distance learning (live via Google Meet) would start on November 21.

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