Ottawa Elementary schools will provide activities if students go to school
Published Friday, January 11, 2013 7:56AM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 11, 2013 3:48PM EST
The Ottawa Carleton District School Board made the final decision to close its elementary schools today while the Ontario Labour Relations Board issued the ruling on the legality of planned walkouts.
Public elementary schools in Ottawa remained closed Friday even though all teachers reported to work. The board, however, said it would provide alternative activities if parents sent their children to school. That happened in several locations throughout the city as parents scrambled to understand the confusion over the on-again off-again school day.
After a 13-hour, marathon session, the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled early Friday morning that the walkouts planned by teachers were illegal.
At Roberta Bondar school in Ottawa’s south east end, crossing guard Sandra Sparks was patiently waiting to escort children across the street and on their way into the school. Sparks says there were no children to escort.
“The city asked us to be here,” says Sparks, “maybe to tell the kids there was no school. I’m not sure.”
In fact, nobody was sure. The Ottawa board announced schools would stay closed -- then parents started dropping kids off.
“We have had a limited number of children come into our elementary school this morning,” says the Ottawa Public District School Board’s Director of Education Jennifer Adams. “They are being provided with activities for the day but schools are closed for regular instruction today.”
Bruce Gillespie had no idea he had the option to go to school today. The Grade 7 student from Metcalfe Public School was already on the toboggan hill with his grandfather.
“We’ve had a lot of days off,” says Gillespie, “and that can be good and bad, because we have a lot of things due.”
Kelly Lett had already taken the day off work to care for her two young boys.
“It's confusing. We'd like it all to be resolved, everyone does, the teachers as well.”
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation had planned a one-day walkout for next Wednesday across Ontario high schools. It has announced that full-day protest has been cancelled.