Breakfast programs in many Peel District School Board schools are running again thanks to the support of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and CUPE 2544, which represents custodial and maintenance staff in Peel. ETFO Peel confirmed that teachers will continue to be able to volunteer to help supervise breakfast programs. CUPE 2544 provided their ongoing support to set up for the program and to clean up and tear down afterwards.
Last week, Director of Education Tony Pontes reached out to both unions to clarify their position on breakfast programs to determine if they could continue. "We're pleased to share that ETFO and CUPE 2544 have confirmed their support for breakfast programs in Peel schools," notes Pontes. "They clarified that current job sanctions don't prevent their members from helping with Peel's breakfast programs. This is wonderful news and we look forward to restarting these programs so that we can continue to provide a nutritious start to many students' school days."
Pontes informed school administrators Wednesday morning, and principals will now seek the support of staff and parent volunteers at their schools to restart their programs. For programs where funds are collected on a daily basis, the board will forego those costs, and schools will pay for supplies using school funds and rely on the support of the YMCA of Greater Toronto, who is the board's community partner.
In a few cases, school staff may choose not to volunteer to supervise breakfast programs. If that happens, principals and vice-principals will not be able to supervise breakfast programs on their own given their other responsibilities. Food, such as nutrition bars, will, however, be informally available to students in the school office.
"Regardless of whether or not schools have breakfast programs, administrators always have access to food to help meet the nutritional needs of their students," notes Pontes. "Our staff know their students well, know which children might be hungry, and would always approach these students to offer them something nutritious to eat. This same practice will continue."
Media contact: Tony Pontes, Director of Education, 905-890-1010 ext. 2005
Reference: Carla Pereira, Manager of Communications, 905-890-1010 ext. 2814