To all IUOE Local 793 members:
Our number one priority from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to ensure the health and wellbeing of our membership, students and staff. We will not reopen our training campuses until we are fully confident that we can do so safely.
Therefore, our previously planned reopening date of July 13, 2020 will be delayed. Our OETIO campuses will remain closed until at least August 1, 2020, at which time we will reevaluate our circumstances.
The management team at OETIO will use the extra time to put in place additional safety measures such as portable washrooms with running water at both Morrisburg and Oakville campuses for when the students are doing practical training in the yard, and if possible, we will implement mobile on-premise COVID-19 testing.
The key reasons why we are cautious about the reopening of our training campuses are as follows:
The Morrisburg campus has a 70-room residence in which students live for up to 14 weeks while taking the Heavy Equipment Operator program. Having students live on campus and ensure that physical distancing and other COVID-19 safety rules are in place and standardized is challenging;
Procedures for proper and regular sanitization of all facilities, classrooms and equipment is critical;
All class sizes and instructor-to-student ratios must be reduced to ensure physical distancing can be practiced;
Schedules and rotations must be properly staggered for lunches, breaks and class start and stop times; and
A sufficient supply of PPE (eg. masks and gloves) and hand sanitizer must be available at all times.
Our decision to delay our reopening has not been made lightly. We can report that the International Training and Education Center (“ITEC”) in Crosby, Texas, will also be closed until at least August 1, 2020. IUOE General President James T. Callahan decided to close ITEC based on an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the area. The ITEC in Crosby, Texas, is also a large campus with a student residence, and they have also chosen to put the health and safety of members and students first and foremost.
We will provide an update on our reopening plans following our reevaluation on August 1, 2020.
Mike Gallagher Business Manager, IUOE Local 793
Joe Dowdall Executive Director, OETIO