Strike in Ontario: the French-speaking public council keeps schools open

Although most Ontario school boards plan to suspend in-person learning for the day due to a planned walkout of the province’s 55,000 education workers, students at Conseil Scolaire Viamonde are being asked to report to class on Friday.

In an email sent late Thursday afternoon, Viamonde Director of Education Michel Laverdière advised parents and guardians that schools will be open tomorrow as usual.

The memo, written in French, said that even with the expected absence of custodians and other support staff, the French Public School Board of Central and Southwestern Ontario determined that it was able to welcome the pupils in class, at least for the day of Friday.

The board went on to say it will make a decision over the weekend on what happens next week as the situation evolves between education workers and the province.

Viamonde said it would notify the school community by email.

CP24.com has reached out to the board for further comment, but has yet to receive a response.

The move comes as the Ontario Ministry of Education (MOE) has urged school boards to stay open despite a work stoppage.

In a memo obtained by CTV News, the Department of Education told education directors and school authority secretaries/treasurers that its “key priority” is to “ensure students continue their learning.” uninterrupted throughout the school year.

“Given recent announcements by CUPE of their intention to completely withdraw their services in schools on Friday, November 4, 2022, the ministry is asking all school boards to implement contingency plans, where every effort is made to keep schools open for as many children as possible,” the memo read.

The department said boards must “support students in a rapid transition to remote learning” if the “healthy and safe operation” of schools for students cannot be maintained due to the withdrawal of services by staff from the CUPE.

“Unless other circumstances necessitate closure, schools should also remain open to staff, who should come to their places of work as usual, and in particular to support synchronous online learning,” the memo reads. .

“In response to CUPE’s strike notice, on October 31, 2022, the Ontario government introduced Bill 28, the Keeping Students in Class Act, 2022. If passed, this law will ensure that students stay in the classroom to learn.

Late Thursday afternoon, the Ontario government passed legislation banning CUPE education workers from striking. It also imposes a four-year contract on education workers.

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