Multiple schools set to shut Wednesday due to rotating OSSTF strike

The rotating strikes of the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation (OSSTF) will affect local students as the strike hits Kingston on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2019.

Secondary students in the Limestone District School Board (LDSB) and both elementary and secondary students within the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) and Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO) locally are not to attend school that day as OSSTF members carry out a one-day strike. The strike will impact all secondary schools within the LDSB, as well as École élémentaire catholique Mgr-Rémi-Gaulin and École secondaire catholique Marie-Rivier of the CECCE school board, and École élémentaire publique Madeleine-de-Roybon and École secondaire publique Mille-Île of the CEPEO school board.

“As a result of a planned one-day rotating strike by members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), all secondary schools in the Limestone District School Board will be closed to students in Grades 9 to 12 on Wednesday, January 8,” the LDSB said in a press release.

“Secondary students should not report to school.”

Within the LDSB, the strike will also affect students who are attending co-operative education placements and those attending Dual Credit and School Within a College (SWAC) programs at St. Lawrence College – those students should also not attend work/school on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2019, the board said. Additionally, Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS), Adult ESL, and Teacher Assisted Self-Study (TASS) programs will not run on January 8.

“The one-day strike will not affect secondary students’ attendance records,” LDSB said.

“All secondary school-related events including sports sanctioned by the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association (KASSAA), other extra-curricular activities, field trips, and events such as graduation photos, are cancelled. These items will be rescheduled where possible.”

Limestone intermediate schools (Grade 7/8 English and French Immersion) located within secondary schools will remain open on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2019, and learning will continue. Those schools include:

  • Calvin Park PS
  • Granite Ridge Education Centre
  • LaSalle Intermediate
  • Module de l’Acadie
  • Module Vanier
  • North Addington Education Centre

All Limestone elementary schools will remain open, as will the childcare centres located within Limestone secondary schools. Community use of Limestone secondary schools will continue as schedules and users will be notified directly of any changes.

 “Teachers and education professionals represented by OSSTF may choose to picket outside Limestone secondary schools. They are legally permitted to do so. We ask that those required to cross picket lines be courteous and respectful,” LDSB said.

Within the LDSB, OSSTF represents 632 secondary school teachers, occasional teachers, professional student services personnel, and community education instructors.

The two schools within the CECCE affected in Kingston – Bishop Remi-Gaulin elementary and Marie Rivier secondary – will also see classes cancelled should an agreement not be reached before Wednesday.

“This decision is made because staff would not be sufficient to adequately supervise and safety of all students,” the school board said.

“Classes will resume according to the regular schedule Thursday, January 9.”

CECCE child care centres in Kingston will be open for both childcare (preschool) and babysitting (school children), but child care before and after school will not be offered to school-age children in schools affected by the strike.

Within the CECCE, OSSTF does not represent teachers as it does in other school boards in the province. Instead, OSSTF represents the staff of administrative and technical support, educators and professional staff in both elementary and secondary schools. Teachers within CECCE are represented by the Association of Teachers Franco-Ontarian (AEFO).

For schools within the CEPEP board, classes and school transportation will be suspended on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2019. Here in Kingston, that will affect École élémentaire publique Madeleine-de-Roybon and École secondaire publique Mille-Îles.

“We will not be able to ensure the safety and well-being of all students on this day,” CEPEO said in a press release.

“For this reason, students will not be allowed in those schools. Only staff members will have access. The child care centre in those schools will be closed on this day.

Within the CEPEO, the OSSTF represents early childhood educators (ECE), special education technicians (TES), early childhood officers, early childhood responsible technicians (Peds), socialworkers, psychologists, speech-language therapists, teaching assistants, school and community workers, applied behavioural analysis specialists, and cultural animation officers in both elementary and secondary schools.

As a reminder, the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board (ALCDSB) schools will not be affected by the one-day strike.

“Teachers within the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board are represented by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA). There are four teacher unions in Ontario, so please note that one union’s labour actions does not affect all teachers,” ALCDSB said.

The OSSTF limited withdrawal of services began on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, and continues as the union and Ministry of Education have yet to reach an agreement.

“After more than eight months of negotiations, the Minister of Education is still committed to the Doug Ford agenda of larger class sizes, mandatory e-learning, and the ongoing erosion of crucial supports and services our most vulnerable students rely on for an equitable chance to succeed,” said OSSTF President Harvey Bischof.

“Our job action next Wednesday will affect some school boards for one day, but the Ford government’s policies, if we are not able to reverse them, will continue to create chaos in the education system for years to come. Ontario students deserve better, and that is exactly what we’re fighting for.”

Kingstonist will continue to monitor the negotiations between OSSTF and the Ontario Ministry of Education and provide updates should an agreement be reached prior to Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2019.

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