Board to close all schools Tuesday

Blackboard or chalkboard with hand writing in chalk

The Renfrew County District School Board says it will close all schools next Tuesday, January 21 because it cannot guarantee a “safe learning experience” in the face of a one-day walkout by the province’s elementary teachers federation.

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario announced Thursday that it would hold a one-day strike in four school boards across the province, including Renfrew County, unless the government “makes an immediate effort to engage in serious talks” on a new contract.

In a statement Friday, the RCDSB said that within the district, the ETFO represents elementary teachers, elementary occasional teachers, Educational Assistants (EAs), School Support Counsellors (SSC) and “other educational support personnel in elementary and secondary schools.”

“Consequently, if these employee groups proceed with a walkout on January 21, we will be unable to guarantee and maintain a safe learning experience for students in our elementary and secondary schools.

“As a result, we have determined that all Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB) schools will be closed.”

The board said the decision to close “all our schools (secondary and elementary) is not a
decision that was made lightly but one that we believe is necessary in order to preserve student safety.”

“Daycares and before and after providers that are located within schools will remain open and we encourage parents/guardians to contact these operators to determine whether there is any additional space for your child.”

“We sincerely apologize for the impact that this decision may have on our students,” the board concluded.

“We remain hopeful that a provincial agreement with the ETFO and OSSTF can be reached quickly. Updates will be provided to you as more information becomes available…

“We thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding.”