President's Summer Message

In this weeks update: 1. Summer 2. OSSTF Office Summer Closure


Summer: A season to recharge and reflect

After an anxiety-filled year, no summer in our lifetime is as anticipated as this one. When “in-person learning” resumed last September, it came with sweeping changes to how education looked. In January and April, positive COVID-19 cases exploded in schools as variant-based infections flared across the province. Hundreds of students and staff were forced into self-isolation, and the operational viability of schools was compromised. This resulted in a shift to remote learning as the second and third waves took hold. Many of us were jarred by the announcement of the return to in-person learning for DD students and our members who support them, creating additional stress, anxiety, and division. I’m exhausted just talking about this stuff, but you’ve all had to live it. Never before have we arrived at the end of a year so empty and weary. That is why this summer needs to be one for the ages, too. Please try to savor and enjoy every minute. It matters deeply that we set boundaries around this time for ourselves. This summer, each of us has vital decisions to make about what must come off of our plates to ensure we can fulfill this role to the best of our ability. The pandemic has highlighted how heavily reliant the government is on your goodwill, personal time, and resources to take the sharp edges off of generational impacts of child poverty, systemic racism, and the marginalization of students with complex needs and their families. This is a pressure we have borne quietly for decades, but the crushing additional pressures of the pandemic have become unsustainable. What school looks like this fall remains an open question, which continues to be the chaos this government continues to spin 16 months into the pandemic. How do they not know yet what a safe return to school would look like? So, here, at the end of a year like no other, I have two messages. First, feel good about setting personal limits on personal time. It matters that we give 100 percent during our workday, your personal time belongs to you. But what if we walk into next year still empty and leaking joy and vitality that supports us to be at our best for our students? Please reach out to us, the union, to discuss your wellness and any other concerns. Second, well done. Thank you. I am proud of you. You have seen your students through waters no one has charted in over a century. The school system can't function without you! Enjoy every last ounce of Summer 2021 and charge your batteries. There’s no question you deserve it.

OSSTF Office Summer Closure

The OSSTF office will be closed starting tomorrow June 30th until Monday, August 30th. If you have an emergency please call Provincial Office at 1-800-267-7867 and ask for the duty officer. Release officers (Cheryl, Laura, Cindy, and Julie) will be monitoring emails periodically.

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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