The Toronto District School Board says it will close for in-person learning Friday and stay that way for as long as education workers are on strike.
Ontario's largest school board sent a communication to families Wednesday night outlining its plan as some 55,000 education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are set to walk off the job after contract negotiations with the province fell apart.
"Student supervision and safety are our top priorities and without the important services of nearly 15,000 CUPE employees, we cannot guarantee that our learning environments will remain safe and clean for all students," the board said in its note to families.
Those employees include early childhood educators, educationat assistants and custodians.
Students will be given work to complete independently at home, the board added.
"Should the job action extend beyond Friday, more information will be shared."
Any students already enrolled in virtual learning will continue as normal. Meanwhile, third-party child care operators located within TDSB facilities will be open on Friday and the board said it will provide further information if the strike action continues into next week.
CUPE leadership said Wednesday that its members will remain on strike "until further notice" after Friday. That announcement came as the Ontario government continued to rush through legislation that would impose a four-year contract on education workers.
The government tabled the legislation Monday — the morning after CUPE issued a strike notice to school boards — and it is expected to pass today.
It includes the notwithstanding clause, which would ultimately act to prevent the education workers from being able to legally strike. The clause allows the legislature to override portions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for a five-year term.
"We remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached before Friday. Should the situation change, we will provide families with updates as they become available," the TDSB said in its message to families.