The Peel District School Board says all of its school buildings will be closed Friday amid a planned protest by CUPE education workers, with students asked to learn virtually from home instead.
The board joins others — including the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Toronto Catholic District School Board along with boards in Durham and York regions— that have informed parents that their schools will close as education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) embark on strike action on Friday.
A letter sent to families Tuesday evening advised them of the following:
All students (K-12) will participate in asynchronous learning at home on Friday. School buildings will be closed to students during this time.
Teachers and support staff will be available remotely to support your child(ren) with asynchronous learning.
Students will log onto their Virtual Learning Environments to retrieve assignments and access support from their teacher.
All child care, EarlyON centres and before and after-school programs will be closed. All permits will be cancelled.
International language programs scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 6 will be closed.
Athletic and extracurricular activities scheduled for Friday will be cancelled.
Balanced Calendar schools will move forward with their P.A Day on Friday as scheduled.
55,000 education workers expected off the job
CUPE said its 55,000 education worker members, including early childhood educators, custodians and librarians, will walk off the job Friday. It's not clear if the walkout would last more than one day.
The union said the walkout would go ahead despite the Ford government's move to speed up passage of the Keeping Students in Class Act that would impose a contract on the workers.
The government has made known its intent to use the notwithstanding clause as part of the bill. The clause allows the legislature to override portions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for a five-year term.
CUPE has said it will explore every avenue to fight the bill, but the government said it intends to use the notwithstanding clause to keep the eventual law in force despite any constitutional challenges.
About 15,000 TDSB employees — roughly a third of the board's staff — are CUPE employees, TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said Tuesday. He said if they walked off the job, it's not possible to operate schools safely.
Should the job action continue beyond Friday, he said, the board would notify parents and students as soon as possible so that they can make alternate arrangements.