Teacher job action could create scramble for daycare
Greater Essex District School Board says loss of a school day could leave 17,000 families scrambling
If elementary school teachers at the Greater Essex District School Board stage a one-day walkout in protest of Bill 115, it could leave thousands of families scrambling for emergency daycare.
The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario began rotating walkouts on Monday. There could be one in Windsor-Essex before Christmas.
Class is in session for another two weeks before school breaks for the Christmas holiday.
The public school board says the loss of a school day — even one — could leave 17,000 thousands families scrambling. Similar disruptions across the province could create similar headaches for parents elsewhere in Ontario.
The public school board sent a letter to parents last week, warning them about a possible walkout.
Spokesperson Scott Scantlebury says it will be a scramble for parents.
"I'm certain that extended families will be called in to support, and we hope that making sure the families are notified in advance as far as possible that things can happen and cooperative arrangements could be made for that day," he said.
The teachers have promised 72 hours notice of a walkout.
Parents are already concerned. They and students have already had to deal with the loss of extracurricular activities.
Jennifer Cox, for example, gets up, gets her two kids ready for school and heads out to her full time job.
Should a teacher walkout disrupt that schedule, it would create some havoc in her household.
"We aren't in childcare at the moment, so we would have to branch out and try to find a provider that would take us at short notice, which would be difficult," Cox said.
Cox has sent her children elsewhere for extra curricular activities, like music. She said most of her friends are in the same difficult position. Finding alternate care if grandparents aren't around could be next to impossible for some families.
Jessica Curtain runs a small in-home daycare. She would be willing to help out, if she can.
"The daycares don't really have the staff or space for that right now," she said. " There may be some that can open up, and I'm sure they would."
If not parents like Cox would have to take a day off work, which is not an ideal situation for them.
The school board has asked parents to keep an eye on media and the board's website for updates and notifications of walkouts.