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Students back in class for remainder of school year

Durham pupils had been out of school for more than a month due to teacher strike

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Public high school students across the region are back in class, and that’s where they will stay until summer break.

A combo of back-to-work legislation at Queen’s Park and the strike being found illegal will ensure no more work stoppages for the remainder of the school year.

The legislation came the day after the Ontario Labour Relations Board found the strike by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) was illegal, as the local-level strikes were protesting against provincial measures.

The board’s decision mandated a two-week stop to strikes, and for teachers to return to class immediately – classes resumed on May 27.

While OSSTF announced it would resume strike action on June 10, after the two-week period came to a close, the province passed back-to-work legislation, meaning there could be no strikes for the remainder of the school year. Teachers and union locals that continued strike actions were subject to thousands of dollars in fines for each day the strike continued.

“Our members will comply with the legislation and return to their classrooms as the professionals they are, knowing that Premier (Kathleen) Wynne and Minister (Liz) Sandals have robbed them of a fundamental right,” stated Paul Elliott, the president of OSSTF, in a news release.

Dates to know

With the loss of several weeks of class, Durham District School Board has modified the remainder of the school year so as to fit in the required learning needed to complete the school year in a shorter timeframe.

The biggest change will be the cancellation of exams. Days previously assigned for those final tests will become regular instructional days.

Grade 9 students scheduled to write the EQAU math tests will be getting a reprieve, as those will be cancelled as well.

In addition, the professional activity days previously scheduled for June 25 and 26 are now also instructional days. School buses will be running on those days.

The last day of the formal class timetable is now June 24, and the final day of school for secondary students is June 26.

Final report cards may not be distributed as per the original schedule given out at the start of the school year. Students and families will be notified of any delays.