The Upper Canada District School Board has been harshly criticized by leaders of three unions for its school reopening plan which, the unions say, “prioritizes money” over health.
Here is an open letter sent to trustees by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Canadian Union of Public Employees, and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.
“On behalf of all ETFO, CUPE, and OSSTF employees of the UCDSB, we formally request that the UCDSB recognize the overwhelming negative effects of their Reopening Plan on the 27,000 students and over 4300 employees.
This pyramid-like reopening plan leaves students and employees at the bottom of the pyramid, shouldering the weight of an educational design that prioritizes money over the best interests of the education and the health and wellness of all. UCDSB’s plan violates the quality of education promised by the Minister of Education.
The problems at the core of the implementation include:
• Disregard of employee professional opinions
• Lack of regard of the increasing destruction of student and staff mental and physical health
• Disregard of significant health and safety obligations and the impact on both students and staff
• Violation of collective agreements
• Failure to continually and actively advocate publicly for the resources required to ensure a successful reopening
UCDSB trustees and senior administration must acknowledge the inadequacies of the Reopening Plan and work with the unions that collectively represent more than 4,300 voices in this school board. These voices know their students, know their professional responsibilities, and know what needs to be done to repair education in this board, even within the restraints of the pandemic. We believe that collaboratively, we can continue to provide the educational needs of all students. We insist that these discussions happen and that improvements be implemented.”