What the GTA school boards are planning if Ontario's education workers strike again
Negotiations to continue until 5 p.m. Sunday in the hope of a deal, union says
With another possible education workers' strike in Ontario Monday, school boards are once again making plans for how to cope if there's no deal reached with the province.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) gave a five-day strike notice on Wednesday after bargaining with the province broke down.
Negotiations will continue through the weekend until 5 p.m. Sunday, the union has said. But if there's no agreement, some 55,000 workers will walk off the job for the second time this month.
The Ministry of Education has instructed school boards to enable a "speedy transition to remote learning" if they determine they can't safely keep schools open.
Here are local school boards' plans if a strike happens:
Toronto District School Board
All TDSB schools will be closed for in-person learning, the board says. Instead, students who can get online will begin live virtual learning.
Schools will distribute devices to students who might require them as soon as possible. But since that could take several days, teachers are asked to provide students with five or more days of asynchronous (not live) work, so that their learning isn't interrupted.
TDSB-operated and third-party operated Early ON Child and Family Centres will also be closed, along with extended day programs. Continuing Education classes are also cancelled, though various remote programs including secondary night school will continue as usual.
"We know that this is a challenging time for families, and we continue to work on plans to ensure learning continues and students are supported during any potential disruption," the board said. For more information, you can visit www.tdsb.on.ca/labour.
Toronto Catholic District School Board
All TCDSB schools will be closed for 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 about getting a temporary one, the board says.
Before, after-school, EarlyON Child and Family Centres will also be closed to in-person programs.
"We know 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 its website at www.tcdsb.org.
York Region District School Board
All YRDSB schools will be closed for in-person learning, with students learning live online instead.
The board says it understands some students may require technology and might not be able to participate on the first day. Families are asked to contact their child's school if they need support.
Full-day childcare programs are expected to operate normally, but will close by 4:30 p.m.
Before and after-school care programs will be closed.
"We recognize this situation is disappointing for all involved. This was not an easy decision to make; your child's safety continues to be our first priority," the board said in a message to parents. Further updates will be posted at www.yrdsb.ca/bargaining.
York Catholic District School Board
Schools will be closed for in-person learning and parents are reminded not to bring their children to school as no supervision will be available.
Instead, students will move to live online learning, maintaining their usual learning schedules, the board says.
Schools will send information separately on obtaining devices for families who need it.
Full-day child-care centres will remain open at the discretion of operators. Before and after-care programs will be closed, as will co-curricular activities.
Peel District School Board
In the event of a strike, the Peel District School Board says students will learn live virtually.
Families who do not have devices for their child have been instructed to contact their school to arrange for one.
"We remain hopeful that a resolution can be reached before next week," the board said in a statement. "Safety is our number one priority, and synchronous remote learning is the best way to ensure students are safe."
Further updates can be found at www.peelschools.org/labour.
Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board
All Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board schools will be closed for in-person learning if a strike proceeds. Students will instead learn live online, starting Monday.
The board says it is contacting parents and guardians who may need a learning device, but adds supplies are limited. Teachers are asked to provided packages of learning materials in the event that a child does not have a device.
Further updates can be found at @DPCDSBSchools on Twitter.
Durham District School Board
Elementary school students will begin live online learning starting Monday afternoon. Asynchronous learning will be provided through students digital classrooms for the first morning.
Full-day schedules will begin Tuesday, if the strike continues. Kindergarten students will receive 180 minutes of live instruction each day. Students in Grades 1 to 8 will receive 225 minutes of live instruction per day.
Teachers will share learning schedule for the week.
For secondary students, live online learning will begin Monday, with the first 30 minutes of each class taking place virtually. Full-day online live learning will begin Tuesday.
Students in Grades 7 to 12 should bring their Chromebooks before Monday. Elementary schools may send home devices for Grades K to 6 depending on availability, but the school warns it does not have the surplus equipment or staff to deploy it as it did during the pandemic.
Child-care centres will remain open, but all licensed Kindergarten and school-age before and after-school programs, after-school recreation programs and EarlyON programs will be closed for the strike with few exceptions.
For more information, see the board's website here.
Durham Catholic District School Board
All Durham Catholic District School Board schools will be closed to students. The board's latest update on its website, posted Nov. 16, makes no mention of virtual learning.
"At this time, we recommend that parents and guardians have childcare arrangements in place for Monday, November 21 and for the duration of a strike."
The board says further information will be sent through its school messenger email service and posted here.