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Warren Smokey Thomas and Eddy Almeida

OPSEU’s educator members meet the COVID-19 challenge head-on

On International Literacy Day, September 8, we salute and thank all our members, at every level of the province’s public educational system, for their heroic efforts to give students the best possible education under very tough circumstances.

Approximately 7,000 OPSEU Boards of Education members – whose ranks were recently boosted by some 4,000 educational support workers from Peel into OPSEU’s new Local 2100 – help lay the groundwork for literacy as educational assistants, child and youth workers, autism support workers, designated early childhood educators, language Instructors for newcomers to Canada, and many more.

We know excellent support is key to excellent learning. When educators enjoy conditions conducive to teaching and learning, students are best able to succeed.

When COVID-19 hit the province, our Boards of Education, CAAT and Universities members were asked to facilitate distance learning for millions of students in a matter of days. Today, they’re again meeting the challenge to help students adjust to a new learning environment.

Knowing the dedication and creative skills of our members, we’re confident they’ll meet and exceed the challenge. But if Ontario is to succeed in a post-pandemic world, the government must listen to our members and give them the resources they need. Clearly, at this a crucial time, we must work collaboratively – not pinch pennies.

We’re also confident that if government and employers listen to the concerns of front-line education workers and public health officials, we can significantly reduce the risks of COVID-19 and keep our schools as safe as possible.

As educators and students prepare to head back to the classroom, whether in person or virtually, we wish everyone a very safe return to school and a successful academic year.

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer