All members should have received communication from the board to their board email providing guidelines for all job classes.
I just wanted to send out the message I have been sharing with members who have contacted me regarding their concerns with the January 4th opening of Spec Ed classrooms. We hear you and have brought your concerns forward on your behalf.
We were not consulted on this and this is the direction of the Ministry of Education to school boards. The government determined special education classrooms need to be open to accommodate students who can't access remote learning. It was not well thought out and creates the obvious problem that members with young children of their own will have child care needs while elementary schools are closed. OSSTF raised with the government the fact that members cannot simultaneously work with students either in person or through remote synchronous learning while tending to their own children. OSSTF asked for consideration on this front either through being provided emergency child care, such as is being provided to other front line public employees or through relief in the synchronous or in-person requirements. The government rejected that request and provided no further guidance.
The government continues to make all of its education decisions in a vacuum without any input from representatives of front line workers in education.
For those of you at schools with DD classrooms but are not normally assigned to DD and have been asked to attend in person, the board is within its right to ask you to attend to support the needs of the school. There may be additional needs, absences, etc. that may require everyone's support.
We suggest emailing your principal if you have concerns with childcare and ask if you can be accommodated with an at-home assignment or if there are any other options.
At this point, the board is indicating that members can take unpaid leaves and apply for the CRCB benefit if they have to care for their children. Permanent members could take their personal day and family care days, if they haven’t used them, and if they do they could NOT apply for the CRCB benefit in conjunction with them.
We will continue to monitor and follow the processes under the OHSA (Occupational Health and Safety Act). Please contact us immediately if your worksite is not following the health and safety protocols or appropriate PPE is not available.