Labour Day 2021 - OECTA Elementary

Windsor-Essex OECTA Elementary

To say that last year was a year like no other in education would be an understatement. During the last school year, our approximately 1000 members made up of elementary teachers and elementary occasional teachers, faced the task of working in a new environment. With the understanding that new health and safety measures must be put in place in order to limit the spread of the virus, with great effort, teachers adapted and continued to teach their students with the same professionalism, dedication and determination to provide their students with the best education our publicly funded education system can provide. For many this meant new protocols within the physical classroom with a call to teach virtually and in a hybrid model as well. For others, it meant teaching in an entirely new virtual environment right from the start. In all cases, teachers’ abilities to problem solve, and adapt in order to meet the needs of their students were tested. They did not miss a beat. Their effort cannot be understated.


As in all workplaces over the last year, and looking forward into the year to come, COVID has highlighted and magnified the significance of the work done by our Association and the labour movement in general, in the area of Health and Safety. The need for proper PPE and masking for all, contact tracing, physical distancing in the classroom, mental health, and the availability of timely vaccinations has been the subject matter for ongoing messaging to the Provincial Government and our employer. Most recently, the need for proper ventilation has become a more pressing matter amongst our concerns as new variants have demonstrated the attention that must be paid to the aerosol properties of this virus. This will again be our concern going forward into the new school year, as we must continue to advocate that the school environment be as safe as it can be for everyone, both for education workers and our students.


Whatever the new year brings, teachers will face it with the same determination they did last year. At issue is whether the Provincial Government is willing to do the same to make the learning environment as safe as it can be and the best it can be for all. Whatever our government does, or does not do, our Provincial Association, along with our local Executive, is determined to call those in power to account for all decisions that directly affect the well-being of our membership.


Darryl Fanick


Windsor-Essex OECTA Elementary