Vancouver school board to make decision about first day of school on August 29

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      The Vancouver school board has posted a letter to parents, updating them on the B.C. teachers' strike, on its website.

      In the letter, superintendent of schools Steve Cardwell says the VSB will likely hold off on making a decision on the start of school until next Friday (August 29).

      The August 20 letter states:

      1. If there is a settlement, our expectation is that all public schools in the Vancouver School District will open on Tuesday September 2 In this scenario if schools do open on time, we anticipate that there will be disruptions in regular instruction as course scheduling for students and timetables, particularly at the secondary level, may need to be changed. However, we will work hard to maintain as much stability as possible in the system and to return to good teaching and learning that is the hallmark of our public school system. Our intention is that we return as quickly and smoothly as possible to normal school operations.

      2. If there is no settlement, some or all public schools in the Vancouver School District could be behind picket lines. It is possible that the BCPSEA imposed lockout of teachers, imposed in June and lifted over the summer, could be back in place.

      In this scenario, a withdrawal of service due to strike action or a lockout will again impact the school district’s ability to provide educational services and supervise students. While schools will remain open we will not be able to offer our regular instruction as we do not anticipate that unionized staff will cross picket lines. As a result we will again encourage parents to not send their children to school and to seek alternate childcare arrangements as needed.

      Cardwell also says that he is sorry about the "high level of uncertainty", and that the VSB is "hopeful" the labour dispute will end by September 2.