With another potential strike by Ontario education workers Monday, school boards are making renewed plans for how to deal with a failure to reach an agreement with the province.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced a five-day strike on Wednesday after negotiations with the province collapsed.
Negotiations will continue throughout the weekend until 5 p.m. Sunday, the union said. But if there is no deal, about 55,000 workers will walk out for the second time this month.
The Department of Education has ordered school boards to facilitate a “rapid transition to distance learning” if they find they cannot safely keep schools open.
Here are the local school authorities’ plans in the event of a strike:
Toronto County School Board
All TDSB schools will be closed to in-person tuition, board says. Instead, those students who can go online begin live virtual learning.
Schools will distribute devices to students who may need them as soon as possible. However, as this can take several days, teachers are asked to provide students with five or more days of asynchronous work (not live) so that their learning is not interrupted.
TDSB-operated and third-party operated Early ON children and family centers will also be closed, along with expanded daytime programs. Continuing education classes will also be cancelled, although various distance programmes, including secondary night school, will continue as usual.
“We know this is a challenging time for families and we continue to work out plans to ensure learning continues and students are supported with potential disruptions,” the board said. For more information, visit www.tdsb.on.ca/labour.
Toronto Catholic District School Board
All TCDSB schools will be closed to in-person learning, with live virtual learning taking place instead.
Students who don’t have a personal device for online learning can speak to their principal to get a temporary one, the board says.
Before and after school, the EarlyON Children and Family Centers are also closed for in-person programs.
“We know that this time will be challenging for our students and families and we pray that a negotiated settlement can be reached,” the board said. Further updates will be posted on the website www.tcdsb.org.
York Region District School Board
All YRDSB schools will be closed to in-person learning, with students learning live online instead.
The board says they understand some students may need technology and may not be able to attend on day one. Families are asked to contact their child’s school if necessary.
All day childcare programs are expected to operate normally but will close at 4:30pm
The care offers before and after school will be closed.
“We are aware that this situation is disappointing for everyone involved. This decision was not easy to make; your child’s safety remains our top priority,” the board said in a note to parents. Further updates will be posted at www.yrdsb.ca/bargaining.
Catholic District School Board of York
Schools will be closed to face-to-face classes and parents will be reminded not to bring their children to school as supervision is unavailable.
Instead, students will transition to live online learning and maintain their usual study schedules, the board said.
Schools send separate information about sourcing equipment for families who need it.
All-day kindergartens remain open at the discretion of the operators. Pre- and post-care programs will be closed, as will co-curricular activities.
Peel County School Board
In the event of a strike, the Peel County School Board says students will learn virtually live.
Families who do not have devices for their child have been instructed to contact their school to arrange one.
“We remain hopeful that a solution can be reached before next week,” the board said in a statement. “Safety is our top priority and synchronous distance learning is the best way to keep students safe.”
Visit www.peelschools.org/labour for more updates.
Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board
All schools on the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board will be closed to face-to-face classes if a strike continues. Instead, the students will learn live online from Monday.
The board says it is contacting parents and guardians who may need a learning device, but supplies are limited. Teachers are asked to provide packets of study materials in case a child does not have a device.
For more updates see @DPCDBSSchools on twitter.
Durham County School Board
Elementary school students will start live online learning from Monday afternoon. On the first morning, asynchronous learning is provided through the students’ digital classrooms.
If the strike continues, the all-day schedule will start on Tuesday. Kindergarten children receive 180 minutes of live lessons every day. Students in grades 1 through 8 receive 225 minutes of live instruction per day.
The teachers share the study plan for the week.
For secondary school students, live online learning begins on Monday, with the first 30 minutes of each class taking place virtually. The full day of online live learning starts on Tuesday.
Students in grades 7 through 12 should bring their Chromebooks before Monday. Elementary schools can send home equipment for grades K through 6, subject to availability, but the school warns it doesn’t have the excess equipment or staff to use it as it has during the pandemic.
Child care centers will remain open, but all licensed kindergarten and school-age programs before and after school, after-school recreation programs, and EarlyON programs will be closed with a few exceptions because of the strike.
For more information, visit the Board of Directors’ website here.
School Board of the Catholic Borough of Durham
All Durham Catholic District Schools schools will be closed to pupils. The board’s latest update on its website, published on November 16, makes no mention of virtual learning.
“At this stage we are recommending that parents and guardians set up childcare facilities for Monday 21st November and for the duration of any strike.”
The board says more information will be sent via the school’s messenger email service and will be posted here.