Parents of children enrolled in Vancouver elementary and secondary schools might have to wait until Friday, August 29 to know whether schools will open as scheduled on Tuesday, September 2.
The late notice is meant to provide the BC Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government the maximum amount of time to reach a negotiated last minute deal.
“I am sorry that the normally exciting beginning to a new school year has been reduced to this high level of uncertainty. This is a frustrating, disappointing and worrying time for everyone,” said Vancouver School District superintendent of schools Steve Cardwell in a letter to parents.
“It is my hope that the labour impasse is resolved quickly at the bargaining table and that our school district can soon return to normal operations and begin the school year on a more positive note.”
Even if schools reopen on time the day after Labour Day, there will still be disruptions in regular instruction as course scheduling and timetables need to be changed. This is particularly the case for high school courses.
If there is no settlement, a BCPSEA lockout could be reimposed and teachers might return to the picket lines.
“While schools will remain open we will not be able to offer our regular instruction as we do not anticipate that unionized staff will cross picket lines. As a result we will again encourage parents to not send their children to school and to seek alternate childcare arrangements as needed,” Cardwell added.
The teachers’ labour dispute devolved into a full-scale strike on June 17, effectively ending the school semester early and causing the cancelation of summer sessions.
Should the strike continue into the new school year, B.C. parents will be eligible to receive $40 per canceled school day to help cover the cost of daycare and tutoring for each child under 13 years of age.
Feature Image: school strike via Shutterstock