And many parents are frustrated at the short notice.
“Very anxious,” says Glenn Breker, father of a 7- and 9-year-old. “We have been waiting.”
“In Gananoque, we’ve been informed the catholic school would be closed and ‘you’d have to find other arrangements’,” he added.
Breker and his wife both work opposite shifts from time to time. On Monday he starts at 8 a.m. while his wife starts at 7 a.m.
The uncertainty is stressful, he says.
“We do have somebody in town who does take care of them before school sometimes,” says Breker. “So we have contacted them and pre-arranged that she is on standby for next week at a moments notice, if they decide late Sunday night to tell us that there is no school tomorrow.”
Breker says he feels for the educational support workers, but is ultimately upset by the timing.
“If they’re going to, maybe they could have put the deadline on a Friday, so that we at least have the weekend to prepare or other people could too,” Breker says. “The short notice is the most critical.”
“I don’t know, finding out at 10 o’clock at night for 8 o’clock the next morning is pretty short notice.”
Naomi Wilkins and her 14-year-old son, Aiden, support the CUPE workers but worry about a work stoppage.
While Aiden is old enough to take care of himself, Wilkins has concerns.
“I am hoping that a strike isn’t too, too long, because you don’t want to interrupt all the learning that takes place,” Wilkins says. “He’s in Grade 9 and let’s make sure he’s ready and set to go for Grade 10.”
The last major school strike was in 1997 when teachers walked out for two weeks. That labour disruption was fueled by anger about cuts to education by then Premier Mike Harris.
More than two million students were affected then, and now, more students are standing by. There are more than 21,000 students in the Limestone District School Board alone.
“I really don’t have any homework to finish,” says the younger Wilkins who is in high school. “That’s all I really can do. And there’s nothing coming up that I need to study for.”
“So I’ll use it as a PA day,” he added.