VANCOUVER – Public school students will be back in classrooms across B.C. on Monday amid lingering questions about how the education dispute will affect the school year.
In total more than 20 school days were missed during the labour dispute and many people are wondering how, and if, the instructional hours can be made up.
Teaching hours lost during the strike will not be made up because the teachers were on legal strike and they cannot be forced to make that work up during the school year.
Professional Development Days (Pro-D Days) can be cancelled, but only if individual school boards reach agreements with their teachers.
Right now the School Act says secondary school students must receive a minimum of 952 instructional hours during the year. Elementary students must receive a minimum of 870 hours. Global News reporter Keith Baldrey says Education Minister Peter Fassbender can amend the minimum number of hours through a cabinet order and that is what he is most likely to do at this point.
The missed work will then be spread out through the rest of the school year.
Extending the school year would affect summer school sessions and the provincial government has already said it is not willing to consider that option.
Teachers and school administrators have spent the weekend making sure classrooms and hallways are clean and ready for students. The grass on the school playing fields has also been hastily cut. Maintenance workers had not been attending to the grounds because they were respecting picket lines.
Police and RCMP also want to remind drivers that they will be out in their communities enforcing the school zone speed limits. They have prepared some back-to-school tips to keep everyone safe. The speed limit is 30 km/hr in school zones and tickets for the infraction start at $196.