President's Message week 21

In this weeks update: 1. Pink Shirt Day and Day of Pink 2. Voluntary COVID-19 research study 3. Provincial Video Message 4. District Award of Merit 5. Virtual International Women's Day

Pink Shirt Day and Day of Pink

The actions in 2007 of a group of students in Nova Scotia following an incident of bullying created a global movement. When a Grade 9 student faced homophobic taunts and threats of violence for wearing a pink shirt to school, David Shepherd and Travis Price acted by buying and wearing pink shirts as a sign of support. Other students at the school joined in and amplified their actions, sending a message that homophobia and bullying will not be tolerated.

OSSTF/FEESO members take seriously their responsibilities to address all forms of bullying and harassment in our schools and workplaces. Pink Shirt Day on February 24, 2021, and Day of Pink on April 14, 2021 provide opportunities to take positive action to end bullying, homophobia, and transphobia, while celebrating diversity.

Remember to wear Pink!

Support the anti-bullying initiatives in 2021 by planning activities and learning opportunities using helpful OSSTF/FEESO-produced member resources including: • Still Not Laughing, a resource that challenges sexual and gender-based harassment in schools. • Shout Out Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia, and Heterosexism Additional resources can be accessed at the Pink Shirt Day website and on the Day of Pink website.

Voluntary COVID-19 research study for Ontario teachers & education workers OSSTF/FEESO continues to collaborate with researchers investigating how COVID-19 impacts our members. Previous studies have examined work/life balance, mental health and wellbeing, and professional responsibilities during the pandemic. The data gathered from these studies will help inform our advocacy on our members’ behalf. Currently, OSSTF/FEESO is encouraging members to participate in a study that focuses on identifying risk factors for COVID-19 transmission in education workplaces and in communities. Risk factors include class size, students’ ages, protective measures, geography, and household size. The study will also help determine the incidence of symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 infections among teachers and education workers. Participation in this study involves an initial online survey and very short follow-up surveys. In addition, participants will have the option to provide finger-prick blood samples through a kit sent to them by the researchers. These samples will allow the researchers to identify the presence of COVID-19 anti-bodies, indicating whether the participant has previously had COVID-19. This will help researchers to understand the spread of COVID-19 in the current context as well as in the initial wave of the virus. All OSSTF/FEESO members are eligible to participate, and the survey is available in both English and French. Participation is entirely voluntary. The survey will be available starting February 16, 2021. Please find the survey link below The results of this and related studies will be very useful to OSSTF/FEESO and will support our ongoing efforts to promote safe working conditions for all members If you have any questions about this D/BU, contact Chris Samuel at If you have questions about the research study itself, please contact Brenda Coleman at Video Message Please find below a link to a video message from President Harvey Bischof on behalf of the Provincial Executive. This was posted on social media last week English - French - Award of Merit Seeking Nominations for the District Award of Merit The District Executive Council is seeking nominations for the District Award of Merit, an annual award given to worthy candidates in recognition of outstanding contributions to education. Nominees for this award must meet the eligibility criteria below. To nominate a member please fill in the nomination form accompanied by a detailed summary of their contribution to education in District 18 based on 1 or more of the criteria below. Eligibility

  • members will be eligible for the Award of Merit if they have been employed by the Board and have been a member of the District for at least one (1) school year (September to June) prior to receiving the award,

  • the number of recipients (if any) of the award shall be at the discretion of the Reviewing Committee, and

  • the Reviewing Committee should not be concerned with the Bargaining Unit of the candidates.

Criteria The candidates should be judged upon their outstanding contribution to education in the following area(s):

  • development of innovative/creative programs,

  • professional Contributions,

  • dedication to excellence in the workplace, and

  • contributions beyond the normal job expectations.

Completed nomination forms and summaries must be sent to the Bargaining Unit President by 4:30 pm on Monday, April 26, 2021. The winner(s) of the District Award of Merit will be presented with the award at the District 18 Retirement Dinner on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, starting at 4:30 pm Nomination Form Virtual International Women's Day Event NO OSSTF D18 MEMBERS NEED TO PURCHASE TICKETS BUT THEY HAVE TO REGISTER THROUGH Tracey TO GET THE LINK. Interested members, please contact Tracey Mackie-Vlietstra to reserve If you have questions or concerns related to this information or anything else please send me an email or call me at 519-835-0031 In solidarity, Cheryl

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