Over the past several weeks, we have all become familiar with terms like “social-distancing” and “flattening the curve” as we do our part, as individuals and organizations, to try to halt the spread of COVID-19.
OECTA is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of our members, employees, and anyone we interact with in a public setting. To that end, the Association has taken a number of measures, based on the advice of public health authorities, to protect the health and safety of our OECTA community and the public.
We have made arrangements to enable staff at the Provincial Office to work remotely until at least April 5. We have also implemented flexible working hours for those still coming into the office, to reduce the number of people in the building at the same time. We will continue to monitor public health advisories and make any necessary updates to these procedures.
We have cancelled in-person meetings and, where possible, have moved Association business to online platforms. This includes all scheduled events pertaining to the ratification process of our tentative agreement. Non-essential travel for other Association business has been cancelled until further notice.
The Association has been in regular contact with the Ministry of Education, stressing the need for proper consultation with teachers and other frontline professionals before decisions are made about education policy. As a result, a work group has been created with staff from the Ministry of Education and the four teacher unions. The work group will be making recommendations to the government as soon as possible, with the aim to advise school boards regarding the implementation of distance learning for students in Kindergarten to Grade 12. OECTA hopes the Ministry takes the opportunity to benefit from the expertise we have to offer.
Catholic teachers also understand that the COVID-19 crisis is having severe impact on our economy and society. While the government has put some emergency measures in place, many Ontarians are losing work, and the hardships faced every day by people with low incomes are being magnified. In response, the OECTA Provincial Executive has approved a donation of $20,000 to Feed Ontario, the umbrella group for emergency food programs across the province. Many local OECTA units have also made donations to local charitable organizations.
Below are some helpful resources related to COVID-19.