OCDSB may close all elementary, high schools if 1-day strike happens

Teacher information picket in front of Frontenac Secondary School.
Teacher information picket in front of Frontenac Secondary School. Global Kingston

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) says it may have to close all elementary and secondary schools across the district if members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) follow through with a one-day, province-wide walkout on Wednesday.

The OSSTF represents staff who work in both Ottawa’s elementary and high schools, according to a news release Friday from the OCDSB.

READ MORE: Ontario public high school teachers union announces tentative 1-day walkout

“In the event of a walkout, it may be difficult for schools to provide adequate supervision of students, ensure proper resources and supports for students with special needs, and maintain custodial and maintenance services,” the OCDSB wrote.

“As a result, the board will need to consider whether to close elementary and secondary schools in response to OSSTF strike action.”

OSSTF announces one day strike Dec. 4
OSSTF announces one day strike Dec. 4

The OCDSB says a closure could include regular school day activities, the “extended day” program, third-party daycare providers and community use of school buildings.

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The board is encouraging parents to make contingency plans for Wednesday if OSSTF members do walk out and said it will send further updates to parents “as soon as more information becomes available.”

READ MORE: Key contract issues as tensions increase between Ontario public high school teachers’ union, government

The OSSTF announced on Thursday that members will hold a one-day strike on Dec. 4 if a new collective agreement with the province hasn’t been reached by then.

“We remain hopeful that a settlement will be reached at the central bargaining tables,” the OCDSB wrote.

“However, bargaining settlements can be last minute. As a result, confirmation of strike action may not be known until Wednesday morning.”

-With a file from Jessica Patton