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.

Recess update

According to the BC Public School Employers Association:

Each school district (SD) has a few options for how they can coordinate recess and outside supervision before and after school. These options include cancelling recess, restricting access to certain areas of playgrounds, or staggering recess times. Each SD will consider which option, or combination of options, will allow them to provide the most coverage with the staff available.

During the teacher strike, supervision will be provided by exempt staff (principals, vice-principals) and other SD employees who are not members of the teachers’ union.

Apparently, from what has been said, what will happen in the Prince George school district is that teachers will assist with supervision once all exempt staff (principals, vice principals, and school board office employees) are busy supervising students. School board employees will be traveling to schools in the area twice a day, before and after school to supervise, but adding in recess as well was more difficult to schedule. Many schools in the area already use CUPE members to supervise at lunch, so that would not be affected.

Additionally, the original announcement called for school to start 7 minutes later and end 8 minutes earlier. This may be changed to 10 minutes and 5 minutes, to make it easier to calculate.

No recess for students?

According to school district sources, there will be no recess for students during the job action.

Morning recess breaks will be cancelled for the length of Essential Services job action.  This is being done in recognition of the challenges for exempt staff to supervise this additional period of time.  For elementary schools, the typical 15 minutes of recess time will be removed from the minutes of instruction by having seven minutes taken from the beginning of the day and eight minutes taken from the end of the school day.

However, bus schedules appear to be continuing as previously planned.

First day of school changed

The school district has just announced on their website that the first day of school has been moved a day earlier than previously announced.

Back to School – Date Changed to September 6, 2011

Due to the uncertainty of pending job action by the Prince George Teachers’ Association, the non-instructional day scheduled for Tuesday, September 6 is being postponed to a later date in the school year.

The first day of school for students will be September 6, 2011.  This day will be a shortened day (90 minutes).  Dismissal times will vary from school to school. School buses will return students home shortly after dismissal.   Wednesday, September 7, 2011 is a regular school day for all students.  Gradual kindergarten entry schedules and bussing schedules will continue, as planned.

Please check the School District website for the most current information,

PDF notice from school district

Information on teacher job action plan at start of school year

More information is coming out about what MAY be happening in schools at the start of school – this will only be confirmed later on.


The job-action plan was approved by the B.C. Labour Relations Board last month after teachers agreed to work with principals as usual during the first few days of school to prepare classes. The plan includes 30 activities that teachers are expected to eschew including the following, which could affect students: “Participate in any school photo organization; collect money from students or participate in fundraising; supervise detentions before, during or after instructional time; participate in the preparation or the organization of assemblies outside of instructional time or during instructional time unless coverage is provided; administer or supervise FSA (Foundation Skills Assessment tests in Grades 4 and 7) or any district or ministry test.”

Hansman said teachers will take attendance, but a dispute over how that information will be communicated to the school office has been referred to the labour relations board for a decision. Note: the B.C. Labour Relations Board ruled recently  that attendance must continue as usual.

No picketing is expected at schools, and any escalation of job action would have to be approved by teachers in a provincewide vote. Negotiations, cancelled for the summer, are set to resume Aug. 23. The two sides have made scant progress since talks began in March and are far apart on several issues, notably pay and benefits.

Read more:

The job action is directed at administration, but it will touch others with the union’s decision to not issue report cards, hold meet-the-teacher nights, supervise detentions, collect money from students for any purpose, help organize school photos or administer standardized tests. There is a possibility some teachers will withdraw from extracurricular activities, although the union is not giving direction one way or the other on that.

“If teachers choose to continue with their after-school band program or their knitting club or sports activities because that creates a positive relationship between them and their students, great. If they don’t want to, that’s their choice,” BCTF vice-president Glen Hansman said in an interview.

From “State 1 Job Action”, from 2001: