School boards in Simcoe County announce plans for week of Nov. 7 amid labour disruption

Online learning likely if education workers' strike drags on

The Simcoe County District School Board has made the decision to close schools to students from Monday, Nov. 7 to Friday, Nov. 11 as a result of the current labour situation. This also includes learning centres and before and after-school programs.

“As we go into the weekend, we want our families to know that we are closely monitoring the evolving labour situation in the province involving the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Ontario Public Services Employees Union (OPSEU),” the board said in a statement on its website Friday.

The board says students will receive assigned coursework through the virtual learning platform established by their teacher.

“Should the current labour disruption be resolved, all schools, learning centres, and before and after school programs will resume regular operations and will reopen to students,” the board added.

The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board (SMCDSB) has already said its schools will remain closed for the duration of the CUPE walkout.

The board said should the strike drag on, the plan is to switch students to remote learning by Wednesday, Nov. 9.

While the strike involves 55,000 education workers represented by CUPE, about 8,000 education workers under the OPSEU umbrella staged a solidarity walkout on Friday.

CUPE represents custodians and maintenance staff at the SCDSB, while OPSEU members include educational assistants, secretarial support staff, child and youth workers and information and technology staff. 

At the SMCSB, custodians are represented by CUPE, but there are no OPSEU employees.