Shuswap students back, questions remain

There is no word yet on when report cards may be is or whether teachers will be withdrawing from extracurricular activities.

Uncertainty: Bill 22 meant the return of recess

Uncertainty: Bill 22 meant the return of recess

Shuswap students have recess back when they return to class after spring break, but there is no word yet on when parents might be getting report cards or whether teachers will be withdrawing their participation in extra-curricular activities.

The change is following the government’s implementation of Bill 22, which makes the teachers’ job action, in the wake of their contract dispute, illegal.

School District superintendent Dave Witt says school districts have many questions about the Bill 22 legislation and what it will mean for operations. The BCTF is planning to fight the legislation in court.

Witt will be travelling to the Lower Mainland next week for more information.

In the meantime, the government is pledging that report cards will be issued; however the school district is not sure when they will be provided.

Members of the North Okanagan-Shuswap  Teachers Association (NOSTA) are also discussing whether to withdraw from extracurricular activities like school sports, drama or music clubs. Teachers in some school districts, including the Vernon School District, have already opted to withdraw participation in voluntary extracurricular activities to protest the provincial government’s legislation, which imposes a net zero wage mandate and restricts job action.

NOSTA has had discussions with local teachers on the extracurricular issue, but NOSTA president Lynda Bennett says the information is currently being kept confidential.

“The sentiment is that there are very few options left to try and help members of the public understand the deteriorating conditions in public education,” says Bennett. “I think it is important to remember that these voluntary activities bring a lot of joy and self-fulfillment to students and teachers. Any decision by teachers to withdraw these activities is a decision not made lightly.”

Bennett goes on to say there are significant problems with public education. in B.C.

“We need to look at the bigger picture. The government’s policies and lack of support for public education are hurting kids all day, every day.”

The most noticeable change from Bill 22 took place Monday when a 15-minute recess break, which had been cancelled by School District #83 due to the lack of teacher supervision resulting from job action, was re-instated to the school day.

This meant students were let out of school 15 minutes later than the previous time under the job action. The change is effective for elementary and middle school students. The high school student schedule, which does not have recess break built in, remains the same.