OCSTA Annual General Meeting
On Saturday, May 1, 2021 from 9:00am – 12:00 p.m. (EDT) OCSTA will host the 91st Annual General Meeting on the Zoom videoconferencing platform (with technical support provided by the firm GetQuorum).
A meeting invitation for this “virtual” Annual General Meeting has been distributed to all Catholic school Trustees and Directors of Education. Instructions and parameters for participating in the virtual AGM have been provided to all members via email.
In order to participate in the meeting, you will require the Zoom application, which can be downloaded at www.zoom.us. By now you should have received an email from GetQuorum with a link to register for the AGM which will be held on May 1st.
You will have also received from your board the following:
- 2021 OCSTA Resolutions and 2020 OCSTA Resolutions Final Status Chart
- 2020 AGM Minutes
The meeting will address the following required elements of an Annual General Meeting:
a) Consideration of the Minutes of the Previous Annual General Meeting
b) Consideration of the Financial Statements of the Corporation
c) Consideration of the Auditor’s Report for the Previous Fiscal Year
d) Appointment of the Auditor for the Coming Year
e) Resolutions of the Members
Election of Regional Director – Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11
Members will be able to vote electronically. Each individual will require their own electronic device, i.e., laptop or personal computer in order to capture their individual votes. Members may also participate by phone, however, they would not have the capability to vote in real time, but would have the ability to vote by proxy if previously assigned.
In the link to register for the AGM there is an option to assign an electronic proxy. If you are appointing an individual as a proxy to vote on your behalf at the OCSTA Virtual Annual General Meeting on Saturday, May 1st, please remember to inform the proxyholder that they have been assigned a proxy. In addition to their own vote, proxyholders will automatically have one additional vote counted for every proxy they are carrying.
Please note that if you assign a proxy and then join the meeting, your proxy will automatically be revoked. The deadline for assignment of proxies is April 29 – 9:00 a.m. (EDT). It is important that you join the meeting early (8:30 a.m. EDT) on May 1st to ensure that you are able to access the webcast and to complete attendance requirements.
- You will need a computer or laptop and the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Edge or
Firefox to access the voting portal.
- Only trustee members eligible to vote in the 2021 elections for OCSTA Regional Directors
will receive a ballot.
- You must complete your vote within the voting period; otherwise, your vote will not be
- You must be signed into the webcast using the Zoom app and using the same email address
as per our records. If your email does not match our records, you will NOT receive a ballot.
If you have any questions, please contact Connie Araujo-De Melo. – cdemelo [at] ocsta.on.ca.
OCSTA in The News
Should all education workers move to the front of the vaccination line?
Experts weigh in The province has opted to prioritize workers in COVID-19 hot zones Megan DeLaire. Friday, April 9, 2021
Is it time to move all education workers to the front of the COVID-19 vaccine line? Several professional organizations representing Ontario teachers think so.
In a letter to Minister of Education Stephen Lecce on March 25, the Ontario Public School Board Association argued teachers should be vaccinated as early as possible in order to keep classrooms open. On April 5, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association called for the immediate vaccination of all education workers and urged the province to pause in-person learning until the job was done.
On April 7, the province announced education workers in COVID-19 hot zones, as well as all special education workers, would be able to register for vaccines by the following week. Previously, the government had planned to target education workers for vaccinations near the end of Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout, closer to June or July.
In a statement released hours after the April 7 announcement, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association praised the move to vaccinate education workers in hot zones but repeated the call to immediately prioritize all education workers.
“The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association acknowledges the progress made today,” the association said in a release. “There remains, however, an urgency to place priority on vaccinating teachers and all education workers throughout the province.”
The province has defended its decision not to vaccinate all educators at once, saying it needs to balance vaccinating education workers with vaccinating other vulnerable populations.
So which strategy is best?
Dr. Omar Khan, an immunologist at the University of Toronto, and Dr. Gerald Evans, Chair of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Queen’s University, weigh the virtues of both.
Khan believes Ontario’s decision to continue prioritizing people facing the highest risk of serious illness is sound but pointed out the data on who is most vulnerable is shifting.
“The emerging data is suggesting that these new variants might be more pathogenic in younger people, including people who are teachers,” he said.
“The decision to vaccinate people who are older was based on them being a vulnerable population. With these variants of concern, we have to look at the epidemiological data.”
Evans agrees education workers are clear candidates for swift vaccination, especially since the province has committed to keeping schools open.
“I think teachers should be a priority,” he said. ” There’s an argument to be made that if the philosophy is schools are the last to close and the first to open, you have to make that as safe a priority as possible.”
The trouble with assigning equal priority to all education workers, Evans said, is that there are hundreds of thousands of them in Ontario and vaccinating them all simultaneously is probably not something the province can do. Some education workers will inevitably need to be vaccinated after others.
“If teachers and education workers are all at the front of the line, how do we move people back?” he posed. “If you have to subcategorize them, vaccinating teachers and support staff in hot zones is a good strategy.”
Khan said while he would like to see all education workers vaccinated immediately, limited vaccine supply combined with the need to vaccinate other priority groups means Ontario must use all the tools it has to limit the spread of the virus while everyone waits for their turn.
“We have only two tools,” he said. “Our tools are vaccines and physical [measures] — meaning masks, physical distancing and lockdowns.”
Since vaccines are a precious resource, Khan hopes the current shutdown will slow the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, allowing the province to make the best use of its current vaccine supply until it can vaccinate a broader swath of the population, including more education workers.
“No one is arguing that teachers are at risk. They are, we all know it,” he said. “But we have to balance this with the tools we have.”.
Remote Learning After April Break
Starting April 19, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools are teaching classes remotely.
In-person learning is available for students with special education needs who cannot be accommodated through remote learning.
Child care for non-school aged children will remain open, before and after school programs will be closed and free emergency child care for the school-aged children of eligible health care and frontline workers will be provided. “To protect the most vulnerable, boards will make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who require additional support that cannot be accommodated through remote learning,” (exceprt from Government of Ontario announcement).
Remote learning will be provided for all students in alignment with Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) No.164: Requirements for Remote Learning. This PPM provides specific standards for instruction of synchronous learning.
Catholic Education Week Resources Available Now
The Catholic Education Week Committee has completed the exceptional contents for this year’s “Nurturing Hope” Catholic Education Week Resource packages for elementary and secondary schools.
Catholic Eduation Week Mass:
Please plan to participate in the province-wide “virtual” Catholic Education Week Mass, to be celebrated by His Eminence, Cardinal Thomas Collins on Wednesday, May 5 at 11:00 a.m. – the link for access is: www.stmichaelscathedral.com/live.