NORTH BAY, ON –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– The final bell may have rung on the 2020-21 school year, but education workers from schools in and around North Bay are already putting their heads together to ensure a safe return to class in September.
On July 22, education support staff from North Bay and Nipissing-area schools will meet provincial leaders from their union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents some 350 school board employees in the region. Two sessions – the first in-person meetings of the area’s education workers since the pandemic began – are scheduled to take place at the Hampton Inn on McKeown Avenue in North Bay. All participants will obey strict COVID-19 guidelines.
The gathering will bring together education workers from Near North District School Board, Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board, as well as French-language boards Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario and Conseil scolaire catholique Franco-Nord. Custodians, office and clerical staff, maintenance workers, and technicians will share their experiences of working during the COVID-19 pandemic to help develop a plan that puts students’ education and well-being at the heart of re-opening plans.
“Education workers have deep knowledge and unparalleled skills when it comes to what students need and the ways that schools work,” said Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU), which represents 55,000 CUPE education workers province-wide.
“We’ve supported students, schools, families and communities throughout the pandemic; our input is critical to a safe September. We want to make sure we’re doing our part to make schools safe places to learn and work again.”
Walton and her fellow CUPE members have previously identified the need for increased supports to help students recover from two years of disruption to their education; and the need for other measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in schools, including better ventilation standards, smaller class sizes, and a provincial cleaning standard.
“We will be discussing these and other issues to ensure that health, safety and the quality of students’ education are prioritized again in schools in North Bay,” said Walton.
CUPE 1165 and CUPE 4865 represents approximately 250 custodial, maintenance, office, clerical staff, technicians and other workers at Near North District School Board and Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario. At Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board and Conseil scolaire catholique Franco-Nord, CUPE 2799 represents some 100 custodian and maintenance workers.
For more information, contact:
Laura Walton, President, Ontario School Board Council of Unions, 613-813-9951
Mary Unan, CUPE Communication, 647-390-9839