November 23, 2016 12:57 pm
Updated: November 24, 2016 12:17 pm

Nova Scotia warns parents to come up with a plan in case teachers strike

WATCH ABOVE: Nova Scotia is asking parents to make a plan in case their kids end up out of school during a potential teachers strike. Global's Marieke Walsh explains what's at stake and looks at the options for families.

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Nova Scotia is asking parents to make a plan in case their kids end up out of school in the event of a teachers strike.

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Despite the last ditch contract talks, the teachers could strike as early as Dec. 5. The government and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union returned to contract talks on Monday after several weeks of deadlock. A second day of negotiations is scheduled for Friday.

READ MORE: Supreme Court ruling bolsters Nova Scotia teachers in contract dispute: union

Teachers will be in a legal strike position starting on Dec. 3, meaning job-action could start as early as Monday, Dec. 5.

However, teachers could take job action as late as April 2017. A full strike, rotating strikes, and working-to-rule are among the options the union has said it’s considering if a third tentative agreement can’t be reached.

WATCH: Nova Scotia parents told to prepare for a potential teachers strike that could happen as early as Dec. 5

A letter sent to parents Tuesday says “it is important to make a plan to prepare for the possibility your child may be out of school.” It doesn’t rule out the possibility that students could stay in schools even if there is a “full withdrawal of services.”

The letter calls on parents to come up with a contingency plan now because if teachers do take job action it could come with “short notice.” Teachers are required to give 48 hours notice before taking any job action.

Education Minister Karen Casey said Wednesday that the unknowns about what, if any job action teachers will take means the government can’t yet rule out students staying at school even if there is a strike.

“With those uncertainties, and without answers to those questions, you can’t give a definite,” she said.

Letter sent to address parents anxiety: Minister

Casey said the letter sent to parents was a “first communication” to try and answer some of the questions parents have about a possible strike.

“Parents are anxious, they’re concerned about what will happen with respect to the union’s ability to go on strike,” Casey said.

READ MORE: Deficit spending an option in Nova Scotia teachers dispute: NDP

She said parents should reach out to their school boards to get the information they need, but acknowledged that at the moment there aren’t many answers.

“For many of them there is no answer at this point, so that’s why its called contingency,” she said.

The letter says the best way for parents to find out about any possible impact on their children’s schooling is to monitor school boards’ websites and social media accounts.

Public school teachers in Nova Scotia have never been on strike.

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