Three strikes you’re out?

By Jasmine Miljure

For the three weeks before winter break, there have been three one day strikes that took place across multiple school boards. All students and teachers have been affected and there is still a looming uncertainty pertaining to what is to happen in the future.

The three strikes have taken place on the Wednesday of each week in the month of December. December 4th, 11th, and 18th have seen the shutdown of Toronto District, Peel District, York Region, Durham District, and Waterloo Region school boards, along with many more. The first two of these strikes have affected our own Richview CI, and while many students are enjoying the one-day break we’ve been getting in the middle of the week, many problems are being caused by this.

Due to school closures, teachers have had to reschedule tests, presentations, and other evaluations. Other school events have also been cancelled or rescheduled, such as the swim meet. Overall, because of these unplanned closures and missing entire days of classes, everyone has been greatly set back. Everyone’s schedules have been utterly destroyed and teachers are scrambling to get everything done on time so that these setbacks don’t affect us to an extreme degree. That means everyone is stressed and has to get everything done in a very short span of time.

We hope that everything settles and the cramming doesn’t last much longer. However, as of now, the teacher’s union contract negotiations are still ongoing and there is no end in sight. Due to the lack of foreseen settlements, many people are on edge and worrying about what is to happen later on. Many people are wondering how much worse things can get, but there’s no use in pondering these things, as we have no insight into what is going on and no way to change anything. All we can do is hope for the best. Unfortunately, this isn’t a game of baseball, but rather our education, so it is very possible that this will not stop at three strikes and instead continue into the new year.

Update: It is now well past the new year, and the striking has in fact continued. Thankfully, our school has not been affected as frequently as it had been before the winter break. Despite the volume of strike days other schools (mostly elementary) have been having, Richview CI has only been affected by the three OSSFT-wide strikes. These strikes have been on the 21st of January and February, and the 5th of March. 

Currently, no further strike action is being spoken of due to province-wide school closures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, but that’s a whole other can of worms. The suspension of strike sanctions is to continue indefinitely, this includes both full withdrawal of services and limited withdrawal of administrative services. Despite this suspension, no settlement has been reached, and the public mind is unaware of what future decisions and actions will be made concerning the valuable education of Ontario students.