Ontario urging school board employees to volunteer at care facilities

May 9 2020, 3:52 pm

As the pandemic goes on, educators in Ontario are still unsure of when they’ll be able to get back to teaching in-person classes.

While teachers have continued guiding students through the curriculum from home, they have now been offered the chance to voluntarily help out at care settings as needed.

On Saturday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced he’s approved an emergency order “enabling available school board employees to be voluntarily redeployed to congregate care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

These care settings may include hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and women’s shelters.

“Many of our long-term care homes and shelters are short of staff, so I am encouraging any available educational workers to help out if you can, because you can make a real difference in the lives of those most in need,” said Ford in a release.

Under the emergency order, school boards are authorized to develop and implement staff redeployment plans.

“Each school board will decide whether they have the capacity to redeploy staff, and only those staff who volunteer will be eligible for redeployment,” the Ontario School Boards’ Association said in a statement.

Voluntarily redeployed staff will maintain their employment relationship with the school board and will continue to receive their compensation and other employment benefits. They will also be eligible for the provincial government’s pandemic pay and emergency child care.

Any educational worker who volunteers to be redeployed will receive the appropriate training and safety equipment.

The Ontario School Boards’ Association has already agreed on a framework that allows staff from school boards to volunteer, and “are supportive of school boards across the province providing this opportunity for their staff to give back to their communities during this time of crisis.”