Most local Catholic students will be in class Monday in the event of a strike

In the event of a strike next week, kindergarten students at the local Catholic board will have an alternating schedule for in-person learning. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
In the event of a strike next week, kindergarten students at the local Catholic board will have an alternating schedule for in-person learning. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The vast majority of Windsor-Essex Catholic students will be in school on Monday if there's a strike among support staff.

The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board (WECDSB) sent out a statement Thursday morning saying only JK and SK students as well as those with "complex learning needs" may miss some days of in-person learning if there's a labour disruption next week. All other students can expect to be in class.

That's because all non-CUPE staff will be expected to be at work.

In the event of a strike, kids in kindergarten can expect to hear from their school about an "alternating day schedule" for in-person attendance, according to the WECDSB.

For parents with students who have complex learning needs, each school will work with families "to provide appropriate learning materials" based on each child, said the board.

All students missed in-person learning during strike earlier this month

This new approach differs from the last labour disruption at the WECDSB earlier this month. Students at the Catholic board missed two days of school when support staff took strike action on November 4.

Carlos Osorio/CBC
Carlos Osorio/CBC

At the WECDSB, CUPE represents educational assistants, early childhood educators, child and youth workers and others.

In a statement issued Wednesday morning, CUPE said education workers have given notice of a potential province-wide strike that could start as early as Monday if a deal is not reached.

Talks between both sides resumed a few days ago

Ontario's minister of education Stephen Lecce said since talks resumed a few days ago, the province has put forward multiple offers that would add "hundreds of millions of dollars across the sector, especially for lower income workers," but CUPE has thus far rejected them.

Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press
Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press

CUPE said the province has offered workers a $1/hr raise for each year of a collective agreement, which would amount to a 3.59 per cent raise.

"Let me be clear, that's a win for workers. But it's not enough," said Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) president and CUPE spokesperson Laura Walton. The sticking point in talks, Walton said, is that the province is refusing to put money into new student services.

In-person learning remains at public board

At the Greater Essex County District School Board (GECDSB), all schools, classes and bus service will remain unchanged by a potential strike next week.

At the public board, CUPE represents secretaries, clerks, IT and maintenance staff, custodians, but unlike at the Catholic board, it does not represent their educational assistants of childhood educators.