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Provincial exams will go ahead despite teachers' job action

Hugh Gloster - contributed
Hugh Gloster
— image credit: contributed

Teachers will be in a "study session" on Monday and students have been told to stay home.

That message was part of a statement released today by Central Okanagan School District superintendent Hugh Gloster in trying to explain to confused parents what the impact of the ongoing stalled labour negotiations between teachers and the provincial government will mean for them and their kids.

Gloster reiterated what the BC Teachers Federation indicated on Thursday, that teachers will participate in study sessions on Monday, which will take place off school property, and  that picket lines won't be set up at schools.

Based on this information, Gloster said the school district advises parents to keep children at home on June 16, or make alternate arrangements for them. As well, he noted that school buses won't be running on that day as well.

Gloster said the school district has also been informed by both the BC Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA) and the BCTF that there is a plan to continue with negotiations at the bargaining table throughout the weekend.

"We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached, and schools may be able to re-open shortly thereafter. If an agreement is not reached, the BCTF have also issued notice that they will escalate strike action starting on Tuesday, June 17," said Gloster in the statement.

Meanwhile, Gloster said the Labour Relations Board (LRB) also handed down a ruling Thursday with regard to upcoming provincial examinations for Grade 10, 11 and 12 students.

These exams, taking place between June 18 and 24, will be going ahead according to the established schedule, even if teachers are on strike and a picket line is in the vicinity. The LRB has indicated that the teachers will not "picket entrances designated by the Local Union for students who attend school to write examinations…"

The LRB order further clarifies that final grades for Grade 12 students will be submitted no later than June 20, 2014. Based on this, Gloster said the school district anticipates being able to provide the Ministry of Education with the necessary information so that transcripts can be finalized for Grade 12 students.

He added the details regarding how marks and report cards for all other grades will be produced and distributed are still being determined.

"We will have further information to share with parents and students in the near future on this subject. For future updates please check the local media outlets and/or go to the school district website at www.sd23.bc.ca. All bulletins will be posted to this site," Gloster said.

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