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Two-week spring break looms in wake of strike-shortened school week

While finding childcare during the teachers’ strike has been an issue for parents across the province, those in Greater Victoria may find themselves in a second bind this month. School district 61’s two-week spring break begins March 12.

Despite time lost over a provincewide three-day teacher walkout planned for this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (March 5-7), the Greater Victoria School District will follow through with plans to hold spring break between March 12 and 23. The break will not be affected by future strike action, as the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the Ministry of Education remain embroiled in a labour dispute over failed contract negotiations.

“The strike is a different issue completely,” superintendent John Gaiptman said.

The district calendar was set in September and since that time teachers have worked additional hours to compensate for the additional five days without classes.

“The students are getting the same amount of (instructional) minutes as students in districts with one-week spring breaks, so the loss is the same,” he added.

As for the current time without instruction, Gaitpman admits he has concerns over students arriving at schools when teachers are on strike. Still, he is clear that schools will remain open to deal with any emergency situations when parents have no other options.

As per a Labour Relations Board ruling, teachers will not be picketing at schools.

“The reason why I tell everybody that we’re open, is because if there is no other choice: absolutely, we are open to receive students. … We will do the best with the cards that we are dealt.”

Schools in the Saanich School District will also remain open during the strike. Spring break for that district, which covers schools from the north side of Saanich all the way up the Peninsula, runs one-week, from March 19 through 23.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

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