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On November 17, Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) Director of Education Lori Wilder released a letter to parents and guardians regarding CUPE's intended withdrawal of service beginning Monday, November 21, 2022.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) provided notice of their intention to fully withdraw their services across Ontario as of Monday should a collective agreement not be reached with the provincial government.

For BWDSB, CUPE includes custodial and maintenance staff and the Board said that should a full withdrawal of services occur, they will have no choice but to close their elementary and secondary schools beginning Monday and, giving teachers a chance to prepare, return to remote learning for students beginning on Tuesday, November 22 until further notice.

Staff will be collecting information for students in need of a device to access online learning with a plan to distribute the devices by the middle of next week.

Students and families are encouraged to visit TVO Learn (tvolearn.com) on Monday should online learning be expected to resume.

In the case of a withdrawal of services, student transportation services would be discontinued, extra-curricular activities would not occur, and before and after school programs would be cancelled.

As well, any rental permits and community events and activities scheduled to take place on school grounds during the closure would also be cancelled.

Dual credit and co-operative education programs for secondary school children are expected to continue.

Students were asked to take home any essential items today, Friday, November 18, 2022.

Mental health supports are available on the BWDSB website at bwdsb.on.ca/students/mental_health.

"We value the work of our CUPE members and hope for a positive outcome as soon as possible," the letter concluded.