No recess confirmed

According to Tuesday’s Prince George Citizen:

Elementary school students will go without a formal recess if teachers proceed with their job action when classes begin next week, School District 57 superintendent Brian Pepper confirmed Monday.

Teachers have said they will refuse to do administrative work or attend meetings with management if an agreement is not reached and Pepper said supervision at recess is among those duties.
Principals and vice principals and other non-union or “exempt” staff will simply be too busy to take up the slack, said Pepper, who noted exempt staff numbers have declined in the past few years.

“We have really skilled teachers and our teachers will recognize that sometimes groups of students or individual students will need a more frequent break than is provided by recess and lunch even right now,” Pepper said.

“So, our teachers will provide opportunities for a stretch, a trip to the washroom, a trip to grab a snack. Our teachers do that anyway.”

Prince George and District Teachers Association president Matt Pearce confirmed that recess supervision is among the duties teachers will refuse to perform but questioned the school district’s decision to drop supervision by non-union staff.

“I would argue the point that they don’t have enough administrators to do it,” Pearce said.

“They have enough administrators to cover all of the schools before and after school and at lunch hour, they’re choosing not to cover the schools at recess.”

Pepper held out the hope teachers won’t launch job action next week, but Pearce said that’s unlikely given the slow progress on contract negotiations between the B.C. Teachers Federation and the provincial government’s bargaining agent, the B.C. Public School Employers Association.

“They began a series of bargaining sessions on the 23rd, it was going to be nine straight days, and word is nothing substantive happened in the first five days, so I would think it’s a virtual lock that there’ll be job action on the sixth,” Pearce said.