Some parents of elementary school students in Halton Region are expressing concern after learning that job action on the part of school workers means that doors at elementary schools will remain unlocked.

“Job action by ETFO and support staff at our school are seriously impacting the safety of the students as doors will not be locked during the day,” one concerned resident wrote in an email to CP24.

Halton District School Board confirmed in an email that doors would remain open at elementary schools because secretarial staff will not unlock them for visitors as part of their job action.

“During these latest labour sanctions, the elementary school front doors will need to remain unlocked during the school day as secretarial staff are no longer able to unlock the door for visitors,” HDSB spokesperson Marnie Denton said in the email. “However, entryway cameras will remain in place and office staff will continue to monitor school entry. Visitors to the school will be required to report to the office as usual.”

Support staff at elementary schools across the province initiated a number of work-to-rule measures Monday as they face off with the province in contract negotiations. Other measures include no longer calling students to the office or supervising them while they are there, no longer managing cash or cheques, and no longer assisting with student registration.

The school board has said that principals and vice-principals will focus on ensuring the safety of students and staff, keeping schools open and operating, and ensuring student learning continues.

“However, the cumulative nature of the sanctions implemented by the various union groups means we can no longer maintain a ‘business as usual’ approach,” the school board said in a letter to parents last week.

The job action on the part of support workers comes the same day that the Elementary School Teachers of Ontario and the provincial government return to the bargaining table after talks broke down between the two parties last month.

Elementary teachers have also implemented a number of their own work-to-rule measures as they negotiate with the province for a new contract. They include not answering emails from administrators at any time unless they concern student safety, and not holding parent teacher interviews unless there is concern about a child’s progress.