Durham schools set to close in event of CUPE strike

Unless an agreement is reached between the province and the union representing CUPE staff, halting a strike set to begin next week, Durham schools will be closed as of Monday (Oct. 7).

In a statement issued Friday (Oct. 4), the Durham District School Board confirmed elementary and secondary schools will be closed starting next week until further notice, in the event of a strike.

“We share concern and disappointment with this development, and want to share our plans as soon as possible to allow parents, guardians and students to make any necessary arrangements,” reads the release from the DDSB.

Additionally, all DDSB/DSTS transportation services will be cancelled and continuing education, including night school, English as a Second Language and Language Instruction for Newcomers will be closed. 

According to the Board, select DDBS child care centres will remain open until further notice. Parents and guardians are asked to contact child care providers for details.

Continuing Education Adult Day School will remain open until further notice.

“It is highly unusual for the DDSB to close schools to our students. This has been, and continues to be, an exceptional and rapidly changing situation, but student and staff safety is always our first priority. The decision to close schools has not been taken lightly, and is being made because we do not believe we can provide the necessary safe and secure learning environments for all students should a full CUPE strike occur,” continues the release. 

The Board says safety concerns and considerations include the supervision of students, administering health and medical supports and care for students, safe operation of water and sanitation systems, conditions of school buildings and classrooms and overall safety and security. 

“We are optimistic that a provincial agreement can be reached to prevent further disruption to our students and families. We will continue to follow this situation closely and are committed to providing students and families with accurate and timely information. We will provide confirmation to parents about school status for Monday as soon as we have verified details on the outcome of this weekend’s negotiations,” states the DDSB. 

The Board is responsible for public education in Uxbridge, Brock and Scugog Townships as well as Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa. The DDSB employs 6,900 teaching and educational services staff.

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