North Okanagan-Shuswap School District cancels recess

Recess cancelled and school day reduced by 15 minutes for elementary and middle school students due to start of teachers' job action

Job action is impacting students at some schools.

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District is cancelling recess and reducing the school day by 15 minutes at elementary and middle schools because of the teachers’ phase one strike action starting today.

“During job action, school principals and vice-principals will be assisted by district-based administration, management and professional staff to provide before and after school supervision,” said Glenn Borthistle, superintendent, adding that limited exempt personnel has made it necessary to eliminate recess to ensure student safety.

During phase one strike action, teachers will not perform some administrative duties, including the supervision of students before and after school and at recess.

Bus schedules will be adjusted for North Okanagan-Shuswap elementary and middle schools.

While the North Okanagan-Shuswap has scrapped recess, there are no such plans in the Vernon district.

“There are 15 of us (district administration) to cover 14 elementary schools,” said Joe Rogers, superintendent.

“We will make sure student safety is paramount.”

Some Vernon district schools may restrict play areas so sufficient supervision is in place.

During phase one job action, schools are open and there will be no pickets.

“Teachers will be taking attendance, marking and assessing students, completing report cards, communicating with parents and participating in volunteer extracurricular activities,” said Borthistle to parents.

Phase two job action would involve rotating pickets.

“If we get two days notice for school closures, we will communicate that with parents,” said Rogers.

The Vernon district has cancelled today’s cross-country run because of safety concerns, but the union insists voluntary activities are not impacted by stage one strike action.

“Teacher coaches were still planning on fulfilling their commitment to students for this event,” said Heather Malcolm, Vernon Teachers Association president.