Niagara teachers' union expressing concern with special education staff slated to be in class Monday

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A teachers' union in Niagara is expressing concern with in-class learning scheduled to return for them on Monday.

While the Ontario government announced the extension of online learning for Niagara students until January 25th, Special Education programs at the District School Board of Niagara's high schools are set to resume after this weekend.

The union, OSSTF/FEESO District 22 - Niagara, is calling for an extended closure to include Special Education programs to 'protect students, teachers, educational workers, and the Niagara community.'

In Niagara, select teachers who provide special education instruction and support are required, starting on Monday, January 11th, to resume in-person learning.

The union says that's despite the absence of additional safety measures to protect teachers, support staff, and students.

Officials says some of the students are medically fragile and vulnerable, and some are unable to wear masks and social distance.

"Educational workers have not been afforded access to some of the emergency measures offered to other sectors of front-line workers, such as child care. Teachers play an essential role in providing Niagara students with access to quality education, and they deserve to be recognized for the ongoing support and dedication that they have demonstrated throughout this pandemic."