English public high school teachers are poised to hit the picket line Wednesday morning.  Their union is holding a one-day strike to back contract demands with the province.

André Dumais is regional president of the OSSTF, representing teachers from Hearst to New Liskeard.

“Increasing those class sizes, the estimate is that we would lose 34 teachers in our district alone, and that’s not counting support staff also,” he says.

Another major issue is mandatory online learning.  He says no other jurisdiction imposes it on students.

“It’s a program that allows students to take courses that sometimes aren’t available in schools, and it’s fine as a voluntary solution,” he notes, “but we don’t believe it should be mandatory and at a very minimum, should be studied before being implemented.”

High-speed internet is not available everywhere in this region.  Dumais says that puts students in rural areas at a distinct disadvantage outside of school hours.

The school board says high schools will be closed on Wednesday, and no classes will be held in elementary schools.  That’s because 185 support staff members belong to the high school union.