WINNIPEG – The Union of Public Employees of Canada is calling for more staff and resources after today`s announcement of provincial plans to reopen schools in Manitoba in September. CUPE is disappointed that no additional resources are available to ensure health and safety. “The recognition of school leaders goes beyond a week of proclaimed recognition – we need governments at all levels, which strengthen themselves and ensure increased health and safety in the workplace, better working conditions and improved employment contracts, so that employees can have security and stability in their lives.” CUPE represents approximately 5,000 teaching assistants in school services across Manitoba, including teaching assistants, instructors, maintenance and crafts, secretaries, librarians, mechanics, bus drivers, international student aid, school liaisons and more. All students are expected to participate fully in their teaching, even if distance learning is necessary. Students are evaluated based on their work, which reflects their performance and learning. School services and schools will ensure that all students involved in distance learning have access to technology (see page 4 of Manitoba`s graduation plan). “We need our school connections and educational assistants who work with our young people and support families who have additional challenges at home.” In schools where there is no own music room, the teaching of musical results is integrated into teaching by teams of classroom teachers. Araya concludes: “CupE members will be the ones implementing many of the direct COVID prevention actions. We want to continue to work with school services for a successful return in the fall. We look forward to the good support and helpful advice from the province. Students, families and communities need detailed and practical information and options so that we can all believe in a safe return to education. CUPE will also use the tools we have – our collective agreement and dismissal language – if employers are unable to continue paying regular wages.

School visitors and division staff members who walk around are recorded in the entry log with the date, name and time of entry, as well as accessible locations in the building, at the entrance to each construction site. Staff must cancel their departure time in the entry protocol. LRSD remains firmly committed to its vision, mission and values, multi-year strategic plan and guidelines. By articulating the fundamental principles of LRSD, these documents give a clear direction. With all the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought, such a clear direction is even more important. The department calls on all members of the school community, which includes staff, students and parents/legal guardians, to keep an eye on these documents during their daily work in 2020-2021 and beyond. “Any reduction in staff will harm our schools and affect the education of our children, especially now that so many students are facing difficult times learning from home,” Araya said. “Students, parents and teachers need to know they have access to the supports they need to help students succeed.” As a union representing 5,000 school assistants in twenty-four school boards across Manitoba, CUPE is prepared to work with school services to ensure there are no layoffs for educational assistants and other auxiliaries. . . .

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