Hamilton

Hamilton public schools closed Monday, moving to online learning amid CUPE strike

Hamilton's public school board is moving to online learning next week as education workers with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) continue to strike.

HWDSB says it can't deploy devices to families right now because it requires staff who aren't available

HWDSB schools will close as of Monday as a province-wide strike continues. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) says it will close schools on Monday and start remote learning on Tuesday as workers with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) continue to strike.

The remote learning will be "real-time," similar to online classes during the height of the pandemic.

The school board also said in a letter to families on Friday evening it can't deploy devices to families right now because it's a "complex process that involves staff who are not currently available."

HWDSB said Early Learning and Child Care centres (for those age three and under) will be open during the school day only and students learning on non-HWDSB properties can attend in-person learning.

EarlyON Child and Family Centres, all licensed before-and-after school programs, all authorized recreation programs, all extra-curricular activities and athletics taking place in schools won't be running.

HWDSB was one of a small number of school boards with its schools open on Friday.

Chair Dawn Danko previously said it was likely schools would close this week.

The closure announcement comes after CUPE members walked off the job Friday despite the Ontario government introducing legislation that uses the notwithstanding clause — which can override certain portions of the charter for a five-year term — to impose a contract on education workers in an attempt to thwart the strike.

Bill 28 also includes fines for violating the prohibition on strikes of up to $4,000 per employee per day, and up to $500,000 for the union. CUPE said it would foot the bill for those levied against workers, which could cost as much as $220 million per day, but plans on fighting them.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Bobby Hristova is a journalist with CBC Hamilton. He reports on all issues, but has a knack for stories that hold people accountable, stories that focus on social issues and investigative journalism. He previously worked for the National Post and CityNews in Toronto. You can contact him at bobby.hristova@cbc.ca.

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