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Humber recognizes impact of school support worker strike

Support staff set to hit the picket lines Monday.

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Humber College North Campus Commuter Hub on Oct. 5, 2019. Eli Ridder/TAP

Should the 50,000 school support workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees enter a strike on Monday, Humber College has recognized that there could be some impact on students that have elementary and high school-aged children.

“While Humber classes and operations are scheduled as planned, we understand that students and employees with school-aged children may need to adjust their regular routines,” an email sent out Friday said. The union, known as CUPE, gave notice last week that workers would strike if there was no agreement.

The support staff that CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions bargaining team represents in negotiations with the province are made up of caretakers, educational assistants, early childhood educators and school office staff. Those education workers walking off the job will cause hundreds of schools to close across the province.

The previous contract agreed between the provincial government and CUPE expired on Aug. 31 and officials were at the bargaining table until last weekend when talks broke off between Queen’s Park, school boards and the unionized workers.

Should these workers hit the picket lines on Monday morning, a possibility that is highly likely at this point, parents will be forced to find childcare — sometimes a costly venture — or take their children to work with them, whether they are in kindergarten or high school.

Humber noted in an email to all students that the first days of the strike “will be challenging as people make alternative child care arrangements” and encouraged those students that will be impacted to communicate with their professors to ensure their academic health.

“As is the case with missing any class, students need to contact their professor and are responsible for speaking with them if they need to request alternative arrangements for completing coursework,” the unsigned email from Humber added.

For students who are at a placement at an impacted primary or secondary school, Humber directs them to speak with their placement advisor or program coordinator, saying that “programs have been working on contingency plans to ensure that your placements are not at risk due to the work stoppage.”

It is not the first time that Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber has had to deal with the impacts of a strike. A province-wide college faculty strike by OPSEU lasted a historic five weeks and pushed back the semester for college students. Some students protested and others quit as academic life came to a halt for much of October and November of 2017. ■

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Humber monitoring coronavirus outbreak

There are no special actions at this time.

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Humber College said it is monitoring the novel coronavirus outbreak and its “potential impact on the institution” in a statement posted online last week and updated on Monday.

Toronto Public Health told the college that “there are no particular actions required” at this time.

A special group tasked with keeping the campus community informed on the latest precautions for the virus has been established, made up of stakeholders from various departments and the University of Guelph-Humber.

Humber points students, staff and faculty to the Ontario Ministry of Health website’s dedicated webpage for updates.

The college’s announcement also asked that those on campus “wash their hands as frequently as possible” due to it being the winter flu season.

As of Tuesday morning in Ontario, there is one confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, one “presumptive” case and 11 cases under investigation. ■

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Nominations open for 2020 IGNITE elections

Nomination packages are due by Feb. 14.

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IGNITE on Tuesday posted details and nomination packages for its 2020 elections on social media, setting up its first ever election without executive positions.

There are 10 positions open for students to run for, all on the Board of Directors.

There are four positions open at North Campus, three seats at Lakeshore, two open at Guelph-Humber and a sole position available at Orangeville.

All nomination packages are due by Feb. 14 and can be filled out on the elections webpage. ■

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Bell Let’s Talk Day coming to Humber

Bell let’s talk day will be coming to Humber on Jan. 29.

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Bell will be bringing their yearly Let’s Talk event to Humber College this week.

Let’s Talk Day is a national day of raising awareness about mental health and furthering the conversation of acceptance, support and to decrease stigma.

The day also encourages the use of various platforms including social media to engage individuals. Bell also donates money to mental health funds based on messages sent throughout the day on their cellular network and social media posts.

Bell will be hosting two events at both Humber North and Lakeshore Campuses on Jan. 29.

The first event will be held at North in the LRC, starting at 10 a.m. and finishing at 12 p.m. The second event will be held at Lakeshore in A170 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is open to both Humber and Guelph-Humber student

Students who wish to contribute to the cause can make a tweet, a social media video, use Bell’s Facebook frame or Snapchat filter and also use the hashtag #BellLet’sTalk on social media. ■

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