Dear Parents and Guardians,
As you are aware, the BC Teachers' Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) are continuing to negotiate a new collective agreement and stemming from these negotiations, the BCTF began job action at the end of April and has now escalated this to a full strike involving a full withdrawal of service across the province.
All Vancouver Public Schools will again be affected by this full strike next week. On Monday, June 16, teachers will not be in their schools while attending a job action related study session. As of Tuesday, June 17 all Vancouver Public Schools will be behind picket lines. This full withdrawal of service will again impact the school district's ability to offer educational services. While schools will remain open next week, we will not be able to offer our regular instruction as teachers will likely not be in schools starting on Monday and we do not anticipate that unionized support staff will cross picket lines. As a result we are encouraging parents to not send their children to school as of Monday June 16 and to seek alternate childcare arrangements as needed. We are hopeful that this labour dispute can be resolved before Monday and certainly before the end of the school year.
The safety and security of our students is our highest priority. Should any students arrive at school while picket lines are in place, our school administrators will ensure that they are cared for until they can be safely returned to their homes under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
Parents should also be aware that as a result of a recent Labour Relations Board ruling the Vancouver School Board plans to continue with Grade 10, 11 and 12 Provincial Examinations. We are reviewing the potential impact of escalated job action on report cards and summer school programs and we will advise you as soon as possible what to expect for the remainder of this school year and into the summer. We encourage all parents to visit the Vancouver School Board website at www.vsb.bc.ca for further updates regarding the job action and keep up to date through the news media.
I am sorry that the normally exciting end to the school year has been reduced to this high level of uncertainty. I am sure that this is a frustrating, disappointing and worrying time for you. I am most concerned about the effect that this continued strike/lock out has on our students. I am proud of the hard work and support provided by all staff in this complex school district. It is my hope that the labour impasse is resolved quickly at the bargaining table and that our school district can soon return to normal operations and complete the school year on a more positive note.
Parents might also wish to review information posted on the following websites:
Thank you for your understanding during this very difficult time.
Dr. Steve Cardwell
Superintendent of Schools
For more information on job action, click here.