Districts planning for back to school

The race is on to get ready for back to school time, which has already been delayed by three weeks because of the ongoing labour dispute between teachers and the province.

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - As teachers make their decision today whether to ratify a contract agreement with the province, school boards are busy making plans in the hopes that students will be back in school next week.

Several districts have already reached out to parents to let them know the plan for next week and most are looking towards a shorter day on Monday, similar to what is normally planned for the first day of school.

“If teachers ratify the tentative deal tonight, it is possible that they may return to work on Friday to prepare for school opening,” School District 67 Supt. Wendy Hyer said in a release this week. “This gift of time would be greatly accepted.”

Schools throughout the region are now planning for ‘normal opening day procedures’ with schools opened for a partial day Monday, Sept. 22 to allow staff to greet students, set preliminary enrolment numbers and prepare for the rest of the year.

Districts have also been informed there will be no adjustment to the length or number of instructional days though there will be some changes to provincial examinations to accommodate a change in semester dates that will be needed to balance out the remainder of the school year.

Many Kindergarten classes will still see a staggered, gradual entry and parents can expect teachers to contact them to set that up.

Schools have been closed since the last week of June when teachers began a full strike after several months of low-level job action spurred by an impasse during contract talks with the province. Earlier this week the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association were able to come to a tentative deal with the help of mediator Vince Ready.

Teachers are voting on the agreement today and if ratified school districts will then officially let parents know back to school schedules through their websites and by a synervoice message.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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