(Here’s a letter sent out to parents from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board on Thursday afternoon.)
Dear Parents and Guardians:
The OCDSB, like all public school districts in Ontario, is facing labour disruption in elementary schools beginning Monday, May 11, 2015. Our elementary teachers and occasional teachers are in a legal strike position and have provided notice of strike action. At this time, we understand that the union intends to withdraw some services. Unfortunately, we have been told not to expect further clarification until the end of the week.
The school district has been clear in its commitment to keep parents informed. While we are waiting for confirmation from the union regarding which services will be withdrawn, based on media reports we anticipate that elementary teachers will NOT:
• Participate in EQAO testing and related activities;
• Prepare report card comments (marks will be submitted);
• Participate in professional development sessions;
• Attend staff or Ministry meetings;
The union has publicly stated that their action will have “minimal impact on students” and media reports suggest that teachers will continue to teach and provide extra help to students; take attendance; maintain contact with parents regarding students during the instructional day; and provide scheduled supervision duties.
At this time, the OCDSB wants parents to know that all elementary schools are scheduled to be open next week with regular classroom activity. The extended day program will operate as regularly scheduled. We believe that field trips and extra-curricular activities will proceed as planned.
During periods of labour disruption, there is always the possibility of full service withdrawal. Although that is not expected at this time, the union has advised that the job action is incremental in nature. In the event that the nature of the strike action changes, the district will share that information with parents as soon as it becomes available.
The school district is committed to keeping schools operating, provided it is safe for students. We will monitor the implications for student safety if withdrawal of services increases over time. With student safety as our first priority, we have been working with school principals to ensure that we have appropriate strategies in place.
Regular updates regarding labour relations are communicated through direct parent email or voice message, the school district website at www.ocdsb.ca, social media (Facebook or Twitter @OCDSB) and through the media.
This is a challenging situation for everyone, and I appreciate your understanding. Your school principal will assist you with any questions regarding specific activities at your child’s school.
Director of Education