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Teacher strike throws off extra-curricular programs in the North Okanagan

Image Credit: Jennifer Stahn
September 05, 2014 - 11:58 AM

VERNON - The B.C. teacher strike has thrown off many school sports and other non-curricular programs, though some activities remain on course thanks to parents and outside maintenance workers.

Superintendent of the Vernon School District Joe Rogers says some fields aren’t being maintained due to picket lines, while others run in conjunction with Greater Vernon Parks and Recreation will get attention from non-CUPE maintenance crews. The fields at Seaton Secondary and Clarence Fulton Secondary, for example, are jointly operated and will be prepped for teams. A high school football game remains set for this weekend.

Fields solely looked after by school staff are a different story and Rogers says “it will become a problem depending on how long the pickets are up.”

In general, Rogers says there are few active sports teams at the moment, partly because there’s been little opportunity to recruit players.

“School’s not in session, how do you talk to kids to see if they’re interested in playing?” Rogers says.

He adds many of the teams formed this year are made up of senior students who have played together before.

A few indoor sports may be starting up as well, but are dependent on two factors.

“If we have parent coaches and we have school administrators available to open gyms, there are some programs that are starting, but not many,” Rogers says.

Meanwhile, parents wanting to use the district’s free early childhood learning services are out of luck. The four strong start centres in Vernon have been closed until the strike is over.

The situation is similar in the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District. According to the district, most sports have been cancelled because workers can’t cross the picket lines to mow and maintain fields. Long grass, for example, poses a safety concern to players.

At least one daycare located on school grounds is not being picketed and remains open.

Schools are also being used on the weekend by certain groups, such as churches and cadets, that require no district personnel or custodial staff.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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