President's Message Week of December 13, 2021

OH Boy, what a week!


I started this email Monday and finally, I am able to complete it! We are in the final stretch of 2021...We know many of us are looking forward to the break. We also recognize that the break may not be a relief for some. Unfortunately, we head into another break feeling unsettled, vulnerable, and probably "cranky" about recent developments. Regardless we wish you all a very safe and restful break and all the best for the New Year. Take care of yourself.


We will keep you informed if there are new developments over the break.


I want to first talk about Rapid Antigen Tests! The Provincial Government (Ministry of Ed) has specifically directed school boards to distribute these tests to students only. This is not a school board decision. Additionally, there were explicit directions given to school boards regarding the retention of kits not picked up by students. this week I sent an email to the Directors of Education and the Ministry of Education advocating for tests for all. I have attached the letter below.


https://mcusercontent.com/fd92d8e08ce1d6b287b53b308/files/c800bdba-f264-ed60-f504-ba24b44977b2/Dec_13_Letter_to_DoE_1.docx.pdf


Today all education labour affiliates sent a joint letter on rapid antigen testing for all education workers. This letter is attached here.


https://mcusercontent.com/fd92d8e08ce1d6b287b53b308/files/7d67e488-b900-2642-1bf6-b2cedea1e465/STATEMENT_Teachers_and_Education_Workers_Need_Rapid_Tests_to_Slow_the_Spread_of_Omicron.pdf


Additionally, I also sent out the attached letter advocating for access to booster shots for education works over the holiday.


https://mcusercontent.com/fd92d8e08ce1d6b287b53b308/files/e0f36ff7-ae26-d8b7-3fce-b8b07aa5639a/Dec_13_Letter_to_PH.pdf


My child/children Need to Isolate


I also know many of you have been in the challenging position of having to support children at home who are required to isolate. If this happens to you and you are a permanent employee, you have access to 2 paid Family Care Days, 2 paid Compassionate Day and 1 paid personal day if you have not already used them prior to this occasion. If you have exhausted the paid days identified here the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) has been extended until May 7, 2022. You can find out more at the link below.


If you are an LTO member you may be eligible to apply for the CRCB as well.


https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-caregiving-benefit.html


***Personal Illness Days are for your personal illness only!



Attached please find updates from meetings with the Ministry of Education – Current as of December 15, 2021.


Since March 2020, OSSTF/FEESO has been committed to collaborating with school boards and the Ministry of Education to support students learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff have been participating in several Ministry of Education tables, meeting regularly to advocate on behalf of students, members, and parents/guardians during these challenging times.


https://mcusercontent.com/fd92d8e08ce1d6b287b53b308/files/f5cfeaf9-4aef-103e-c592-e0b48dc38a8c/Updates_MinistryOfEducation_Dec15_2021.pdf


Upper Grand Employee Assistance Program

If you are finding yourself or a family member or a colleague is needing additional support or resources please refer to the board's employee and family assistance program. This service is free and confidential. The board is not given the names of members who are using the service. It has been a challenging year with COVID and many of us are dealing with other challenges unrelated to COVID. This resource may be of help to members who need it.

Access the Upper Grand District School Board’s Employee & Family Assistance Program 24/7 by phone, web or mobile app 1-800-387-4765 | www.workhealthlife.com

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