2022 Labour Action Update

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

 
November 20, 2022 - DDSB Schools Open on Monday

We are pleased to share that a tentative agreement between CUPE, the Council of Trustees Associations and the Government of Ontario has been reached.   

All DDSB schools will be open to in-person learning tomorrow and operations will proceed as usual. 

Sincerely,  

Durham District School Board 

November 17, 2022 - Potential School Closure on Monday 

We are writing today to follow up on the message provided to families yesterday regarding a potential CUPE strike starting Monday.  

Should a tentative settlement not be reached over the weekend, schools will be closed for students and virtual learning will begin. 

The province has directed school boards to offer live virtual learning for students during this time. Employees represented by CUPE performed critical tasks during past transitions to virtual learning. As a result, while educators will do their best when providing virtual learning opportunities, without IT support, clerical assistance, and Educational Assistant (EA) support in virtual classrooms, the experience will not be the same. We are particularly concerned about the sustained maintenance of virtual classrooms over an extended duration without the assistance of IT support, as learning platforms require maintenance and attention.  

Please find below our plan for virtual learning should the strike go ahead as planned on Monday.  

Elementary Students (Excluding DDSB@Home)  

Elementary schools (excluding DDSB@Home) will provide live virtual learning starting on the afternoon of Monday, November 21, 2022 which will then transition into a full-day schedule on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Students will also receive asynchronous learning through their digital classroom platform for the first morning. As of Tuesday, all kindergarten students should receive 180 minutes of live instruction per day.

Students in Grades 1-8 receive 225 minutes of live instruction per day. Your child’s teacher will share a schedule for learning throughout the week. We do recognize that the number of live instructional minutes required for students in Grades K-3 may be too lengthy for the age group and educators will work with families to reduce screen time. Educational Assistant support will be unavailable.  

Secondary Students (Excluding DDSB@Home)  

Live virtual learning for secondary students (excluding DDSB@Home) will start on Monday, November 21 with the first 30 minutes of each scheduled class taking place virtually. Full day (60 minutes per class) live virtual learning will begin on Tuesday, November 22 for all secondary students. 

Students Enrolled in DDSB@Home  

All elementary and secondary students currently learning through DDSB@Home will continue with their current schedule with some modifications. However, it is important to note that CUPE staff play an important role in maintaining IT systems, providing Educational Assistant support and clerical support and that services will not be the same without CUPE staff at work. 

Special Education Classes  

Without Educational Assistant support, live virtual learning will not look the same as it did in the past periods of remote learning. However, educators will be communicating directly with families to provide more information on the support and learning that can be provided. ASL Interpreters, Intervenors, Developmental Service Workers and the DDSB Language Acquisition Worker remain in active service to students. 

Child Care  

All 39 Full-Service Child Care Centres will remain open. However, all licensed Kindergarten and School Age Before and After School programs, After School Recreation programs, and school Community HUB programs (i.e., EarlyON) will be closed for the duration of the strike, with limited exceptions. Families and children who receive care in these programs will be contacted directly by their child care provider. 

Student Technology 

Students in Grades 7-12 should bring home their Chromebook today.  

Elementary schools may be deploying devices for students in Grades K-6 based upon student needs and the availability of Chromebooks. We do not have surplus equipment to distribute, nor the staff to do it, as we did during the pandemic.  

We have directed staff to be flexible in terms of their expectations for students. We recognize that not all families will have the same access to the internet or individual computers for children, and that in some families, older siblings may be assisting with childcare during this period.   

Communicating with DDSB@Home and all Schools 

Please note that CUPE staff play an important role answering phones, responding to families via e-mail and providing support at your child’s school. If the labour disruption goes ahead, no one will be answering the phone at the Education Centre, in-person schools, or at DDSB@Home. Your child’s educator will still be available to respond to questions from students/parents/guardians about classroom learning via email. Attendance will not be completed for in-person or DDSB@Home schools.   

Cooperative Education  

If students are participating in a cooperative education program that is not located at a DDSB building, they should continue to attend their placement. Any in-class components will be provided through live virtual learning. 

Community Use of School Permits  

All community use of school permits will be cancelled for the duration of the strike.  

Durham Continuing Education and Alternative Programs  

Some Durham Continuing Education classes will continue to take place virtually and students will be notified directly of any changes. The Academy for Student Athlete Development (ASAD), Centres for Success (Durham College), and community-based programs will be running as usual as they are not located in DDSB buildings. 

We will share further information with you as it becomes available, but parents/guardians/students should make plans anticipating that school buildings will be closed on Monday. We encourage you to follow @DDSBSchools on Twitter and check our website for updates.

November 16, 2022 - Potential School Closure on Monday 

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has provided notice that they may go on strike effective Monday, November 21, 2022, unless a negotiated agreement with the Government of Ontario is reached. It is our understanding that mediation between the parties will continue through the weekend. We will inform families as we know more. 

In the meantime, parents/guardians should be prepared that schools may be closed starting on Monday for an indefinite period. We recognize how disruptive it is to all members of families when schools are closed. However, we are not able to operate sites safely without CUPE represented employees at work.   

While the DDSB is not directly involved in the provincial negotiations, it is our sincere hope that an agreement can be reached before Monday. 

We will share further information with you as it becomes available, but parents/guardians/students should make plans anticipating that school buildings will be closed on Monday. We encourage you to follow @DDSBSchools on Twitter and check our website for updates. 

November 7, 2022 - Schools Open on Tuesday, November 8
Dear Parents/Guardians,

Earlier today, various announcements and media reports indicated that the Government of Ontario has confirmed in writing to CUPE that they will be repealing Bill 28 and CUPE has publicly announced that they will be ending their labour action today and returning to work tomorrow.

As a result, all DDSB schools will be open to in-person learning on Tuesday, November 8.

It is our understanding that negotiations with CUPE will continue and we are hopeful that an agreement can be reachedWe will continue to provide families with updates should any relevant information come forward.

We would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding over the last week and we look forward to seeing students at school tomorrow.

November 4, 2022 - Update on Student Learning for Next Week

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Should the CUPE labour disruption continue next week, all DDSB schools will remain closed to in-person learning. Please find below our plan to support students learning from home.

Elementary Students (Excluding DDSB@Home)

In the afternoon on Monday, November 7, educators will be connecting with their classrooms virtually to begin live virtual learning. Elementary schools will require the time in the morning to have staff meetings and organize timetables in order to ensure that they can effectively support your child’s class. Beginning on Tuesday and in accordance with provincial direction, all kindergarten students should receive 180 minutes of live instruction per day and students in Grades 1-8 should receive 225 minutes of live instruction per day. Your child’s teacher will share a schedule for learning throughout the week.  We do recognize that the number of live instructional minutes required for students in Grades K-3 may be too lengthy for the age group and educators will work with families to reduce screen time.

We have directed staff to be flexible in terms of expectations for students as we recognize not all families will have the same access to technology and that in some families, older siblings may be assisting with childcare during this period.

Secondary Students (Excluding DDSB@Home)

On Monday, November 7, secondary students should sign into their Google Classroom at the start of their school day. Secondary educators will be holding live learning for the first 30 minutes of each period on Monday. Beginning on Tuesday, secondary students will receive 60 minutes of live virtual instruction for each class.

We have directed staff to be flexible in terms of expectations for students as we recognize not all families will have the same access to the internet and that in some families, older siblings may be assisting with childcare during this period.

Student Technology

Currently, we do not have the staff or the surplus equipment to effectively distribute technology to all students in Grades K-6 who may require it. We know that this may be a challenge for some families and your child’s educator will do their best to support your child. This is an evolving situation and therefore should this approach change, we will follow up with families to determine what level of support may be required.

Special Education Classes

Without Educational Assistant support, live virtual learning will not look the same as it did in the past periods of remote learning. However, educators will be communicating directly with families to provide more information on the support and learning that will be provided.

At this stage the DDSB does not know how long this labour disruption will last. We are working to ensure that students are supported as much as possible during this time. We will continue to update families on our plans to support student learning if the labour disruption continues and schools remain closed to in-person learning as a result.

For the latest information and updates, please continue to visit www.ddsb.ca and follow @DDSBSchools on Twitter.

November 3, 2022 - Schools Closed to In-Person Learning on Friday

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As a follow-up to our message earlier today, CUPE has now confirmed that they will be on strike on Friday, November 4, 2022 because a negotiated agreement has not been reached with the Government of Ontario.

Given confirmation that CUPE is on strike, all DDSB schools will be closed for in-person learning starting on Friday for the duration of this strike action to protect the health and safety of students. Please do not send your children to school.

At this stage, we do not know how long this labour disruption will last. We will provide families with an update tomorrow on our plans to support student learning for next week if the strike continues and schools remain closed to in-person learning as a result.

As a reminder for Friday, educators will be providing students with independent work to complete through your child’s Google Classroom or other digital platform. There will be no live virtual classroom instruction for students on Friday.

For the latest information, please continue to visit www.ddsb.ca and follow @DDSBSchools on Twitter.

November 3, 2022 - DDSB Schools Closed to In-Person Learning on Friday

Further to our update earlier this week, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has once again indicated that they will be on strike effective Friday, November 4, 2022 unless a negotiated agreement with the Government of Ontario is reached today. 

If CUPE does withdraw services, all DDSB schools will be closed for in-person learning starting on Friday to protect the health and safety of students. Please do not send your child to school.

We will send you an update should anything change.

Educators will be providing students with independent work to complete on Friday. This will be provided through your child’s Google Classroom or other digital platform. There will be no live virtual classroom instruction on Friday. Should the job action extend beyond Friday, more information will be shared with families.

Please note that CUPE staff play an important role answering phones, responding to families via e-mail and providing support at your child’s school. No one will be answering the phone at the Education Centre, in-person schools or at DDSB@Home.Your child’s educator will still be available to respond to questions from students/parents/guardians about classroom learning.

Attendance will not be completed for in-person or virtual schools.

Student Technology

Students in Grades 7-12 have been directed to ensure they take their technology home with them today. There will be no technology deployment for students in Grades K-6. There is limited availability of tech support and there is no helpdesk to support Chromebook issues during this time.

Students Enrolled in DDSB@Home

All elementary and secondary students currently learning through DDSB@Home will continue as normal. Educational Assistant support will be unavailable.

Child Care

Childcare programs for infants, toddlers, and preschool children (who are currently enrolled) may be open and operating under modified hours (8am to 4:30pm). Before and after school programs,EarlyON programs, after-school recreation programs, and Early Years Great Beginnings Start at DDSB programs will be closed. Please contact your childcare provider for more information.

Cooperative Education

If students are participating in a cooperative education program that is not located at a DDSB building, they should continue to attend their placement.

Community Use of School Permits

All community use of school permits will be cancelled for the duration of the strike.

Durham Continuing Education and Alternative Programs

Some Durham Continuing Education classes are cancelled as the buildings are closed.  DCE is contacting staff and students directly about programs which will continue at this time. The Academy for Student Athlete Development (ASAD), Centres for Success (Durham College), and community-based programs will be running as usual as they are not located in a DDSB building.

We remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached soon. Should the situation change, we will provide you with an update.

For the latest information, please continue to visit www.ddsb.ca and follow @DDSBSchools on Twitter.

October 31, 2022 - Message to Parents and Guardians
Over the past few days there have been media reports about ongoing provincial labour negotiations between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Government of Ontario and the potential of a labour disruption.

On Sunday, CUPE announced that should an agreement not be reached by Friday, November 4, CUPE education workers across the province would go on strike that day. Earlier today, the Ontario government introduced legislation to prevent CUPE workers from going on strike and stipulating the terms of their contracts. This legislation still needs to be passed by the Ontario Legislature before becoming law.

CUPE has since indicated that their members will strike on Friday regardless of what the government does unless a negotiated agreement is reached at the collective bargaining table.

As this situation continues to evolve, parents/guardians should be prepared for all scenarios on Friday and afterwards. We recognize how disruptive it is when schools are closed. However, due to health and safety reasons our schools will not be able to operate on Friday without CUPE employees at work. More information will be shared with families in the coming days as a lot can continue to change as the parties are still meeting to negotiate.

It is important for families to know that the level of CUPE staff members vary among school boards across the province. For the DDSB, CUPE represents a large group of employees, and any labour disruption would have a significant impact on school operations. Examples of CUPE staff roles include:

  • School custodians and maintenance workers;
  • School secretaries;
  • IT support staff;
  • Student transportation staff;
  • Educational Assistants and Outdoor Education Instructors and
  • Continuing Education workers.

While the DDSB is not directly involved in the provincial negotiations, it is our sincere hope that an agreement can be reached before Friday. We appreciate that families may have questions or concerns about the potential for labour disruptions at their child(ren)’s school(s) and how they may affect our students and other programming.

We will share further information with you as it becomes available. We encourage you to follow @DDSBSchools on Twitter and check our website for updates.

 

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