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Teachers’ walkout will close public elementary schools in Waterloo

Thousands of secondary school teachers and support staff will walk off the job on Wednesday if a deal is not reached.

Public elementary schools in Waterloo Region will be affected by Wednesday’s potential walkout by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), according to the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB).

The union, which is currently in talks with the Ontario government over a new deal, announced last Thursday that it would walk out Wednesday unless a deal was reached.

The OSSTF also represents education workers at public elementary schools in Waterloo Region.

Catholic elementary and high schools will not be affected by the strike as its teachers are represented by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA), which is not yet in a legal strike position.

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In a statement released over the weekend, the public board says elementary schools cannot operate safely without them, necessitating the closure.

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“We understand that job action is frustrating for our families, students and staff,” board chair Jayne Herring said in a statement. “Trustees will continue to advocate for students, families and educators at the central bargaining table. We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached soon.”

The board says that before and after school child care programs, extended day childcare programs, Early ON centres and third-party-operated child care centres will also close Wednesday if the job action takes place.

All evening rental permits will also be cancelled.

Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo all announced Monday morning that it will offer camps for kids in need of supervision during Wednesday’s job action.

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In Cambridge, the city will host camps at W.G. Johnson Centre and the John Dolson Centre for children aged 4-12.

Online registration opens at noon on Monday for the $40 camps which will run from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

In Waterloo, a camp will run at WRMC between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at a cost of $44.76 per camper.

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Registration is expected to be available on the Active Waterloo website by end of day Monday.

In Kitchener, a camp will run at Lions Arena 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at a cost of $25 per camper.

The city warns that spaces are limited at the camp.

More information can be found on ACTIVE Net.

The Region of Waterloo will operate a camp at Schneider Haus in Kitchener for children aged 7 to 12 which will cost $50.

The camp will run from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The region says spaces are limited so register quickly at 519-742-7752.

There will also be activities throughout the day at Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum and a pop up craft afternoon at McDougall Cottage.