Here’s a letter that the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board sent to parents on Friday afternoon, warning of job action including the possibility of one-day rotating strikes in the province starting October 1.
I wanted to make you aware of recent changes in the labour situation and share with you how those changes are affecting elementary schools.
The elementary teachers union (ETFO) is in a legal strike position. Across Ontario, the union has applied sanctions which means that teachers are not performing some of their regular duties.
Parents may notice the following:
Elementary field trips are cancelled;
Fundraising – teachers will not participate in fundraising including the collection of money for school programs. This may affect the operation of milk and lunch programs and other activities. In some schools this work is being undertaken by school staff, sometimes with the assistance of volunteers. The actual impact will vary by school based on the regular fundraising activities that are undertaken;
Individual Education Plans – teachers are not completing the documentation by established timelines, but are using appropriate accommodations with students;
Communication with parents is now restricted to situations where there is a safety concern or where a teacher has a concern about a child’s progress; teachers are not engaging in regular communication including email, newlsetters, websites or other apps/programs that may normally be used;
Professional development – teachers are not participating in planned professional development activities;
Extra-curricular activities are not subject to sanctions, however, the paperwork associated with extra-curricular activities is subject to sanctions. The district has made some adjustments to regular practice in order to facilitate the ongoing operation of extra-curricular activities such as cross country running. However, student safety remains our first priority and if the school principal does not believe appropriate safety mechanisms are in place, the extra-curricular activities may be cancelled;
Fall progress reports – the union has advised teachers to submit progress report information to the principal in paper copy only. At this time the district is reviewing the impact of this sanction, but there may be changes to the timing and/or distribution of fall progress reports. More detail will be provided as we move closer to the reporting period.
The union has also advised that effective October 1st, they may begin rotating one day strikes. We are working with the union to confirm that advance notice will be provided. We will share more detail as it becomes available.
This is a challenging situation for everyone involved. The district is very appreciative of the additional work undertaken by administrators to support schools in maintaining regular school practices. We are continuing to work to address the issues associated with the sanctions as they arise.
Please ensure that the school office has up to date contact information for you, both phone number and e-mail address, so that we may keep you informed.
We appreciate the patience and support of the parent community as we move forward.
OCDSB Director of Education
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