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An empty classroom is seen in this undated file photo. (Source: iStock, DONGSEON_KIM)

As elementary and secondary school teachers' unions continue plans for strike action next week, Education Minister Stephen Lecce maintains the government has its focus on keeping kids in the classroom.

“We have affirmed in writing that we will be maintaining Ontario's world-class kindergarten program,” he says.

While the mediator has called off discussions for now, Lecce says the government stands ready to meet with unions at any time.

Meanwhile, there are still questions lingering following a contract agreement with CUPE last October.

An education ministry spokesperson says many aspects of that agreement will be implemented once the union ratifies the agreement at central and local levels.

“Many boards and CUPE locals still need to ratify at the local level, and given the importance of these supports being in place, we urge the union and boards to expedite local ratification. Students deserve no less,” says Alexandra Adamo.