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SD 20 Superintendent open letter to parents regarding strike action

Contributor
By Contributor
April 20th, 2014

Dear Parents, guardians and students:

Late on Thursday, April 17, 2014 the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) gave formal strike notice to school districts across the province of BC. Starting on Wednesday, April 23rd, teachers will not be performing some of their regular duties. The purpose of this letter is to give you basic information about this phase 1 strike action and how it will affect the operation of schools in School District No. 20.

Schools throughout the district will remain open and instruction will continue. Although part of the withdrawal of services involves the supervision of students, district and school based management staff will be on site to supervise school grounds and bus loading areas to ensure the safety of all students. During this initial strike action other employee groups will continue to perform their regular duties. Volunteers may continue to do the activities they have routinely performed in schools. In order to reduce the supervision demands, we are asking that parents and guardians try to drop off and pick up their children as close to the bell times as possible.

The BCTF phase 1 strike action will result in a number of changes. While things are still uncertain, the BCTF stated that teachers, “will continue to teach, write report cards, communicate with parents, and participate in their volunteer extracurricular activities”.

What are teachers not doing in this phase of strike action? The BCTF stated that, “teachers will not: undertake any mandated supervision of students outside of regularly scheduled classes, except as set out by an essential services order; attend any meetings with management other than meetings of the worksite Joint Health and Safety Committee; provide principals or administrators with any routine printed, written, or electronic communication; receive any printed, written, or electronic communication from an administrator; and be at a worksite prior to one hour before commencement of instructional time and one hour after the end of instructional time, other than for pre‐arranged voluntary activities”. These and other service reductions will result in changes to school routines and events. Your principal will keep you informed about the changes that are specific to your school.

Although schools in School District No. 20 will continue to be safe and to be good places to learn, you should not expect that it will be “business as usual” during phase 1 strike action. For example, principals and other administrative staff will be performing some of the duties withdrawn by teachers and will be less available than usual. We ask for your understanding and patience.

Strike action comes after 15 months of negotiations between the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association. Although negotiations are continuing, significant issues remain unresolved.

For further information and updates please check the district website ‐ www.sd20.bc.ca.

Sincerely,
Greg Luterbach
Superintendent of Schools

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