At long last the labour dispute between BC’s teachers and the provincial government is over and students returned to class on Monday. Thank goodness.
While we applaud both sides for finally reaching an agreement and ending this bitter dispute, we do have to wonder why it is necessary to hold a professional development day the first week back.
That’s right, school districts in the area have decided not to postpone the scheduled day off for students. Both School District 8, which includes schools in Nelson, Kaslo, Salmo, and the Slocan Valley, and School District 20 have proclaimed students do not have to go to school on Friday.
It’s hard for the average person to understand the logic behind that decision. While we concede that Pro-D days are important — allowing teachers and management to have school wide discussions and host learning and development sessions — it’s hard to justify closing schools for another day, especially during the first week back.
Parents have already been challenged with the task of finding child care or activities for their children during the strike. Now after being told that school is finally returning, they discover it is going to be a shortened week.
Considering the fact that three weeks of school have been lost, surely one Pro-D Day could be dropped from the schedule.
If not, due to contractual obligations, then at least postpone it until students and teachers are back into the rhythm of the school year.
School District 10 (Arrow Lakes) has decided to delay their Pro-D Day (which was scheduled for Monday, September 29) to allow students to get back into the regular routine of school.
That appears to be a better solution than interrupting the first week of learning. It also shows that changing a Pro-D Day is possible.
From a public relations point of view, keeping students out of school on Friday is a bit of a disaster for both teachers and districts at a time when both sides need to work on improving their image.