In response to teachers’ low-level Stage 1 job action, 10 school districts including Prince George and Central Okanagan (Kelowna) have taken the unnecessary and inappropriate step of cancelling recess.
The vast majority of school districts across BC have not cancelled recess and those that have should reconsider. Principals, Vice-Principals, and excluded staff are more than capable of supervising the playground for 15 minutes each day.
Supervision was one of the issues addressed at the Labour Relations Board between the BC Public School Employers’ Association and the BCTF. The subsequent Labour Relations Board order states:
“With respect to any before/after school, recess or noon hour supervision normally provided by teachers, before/after school supervision related only to bus drop off and pick-up, and recess and noon hour supervision will continue to be provided by teachers subject to the Employer utilizing management and excluded staff to the best extent possible to replace teachers for these activities.”
The school districts that have cancelled recess have done so because it is inconvenient to Principals and management staff. They have not even tried to find coverage as per the order from the Labour Relations Board.
Teachers’ Stage 1 job action is administrative in nature only. Any recess cancellations falls squarely on the shoulders of school districts unwilling to move their staff around. Furthermore, teachers will continue to do previously scheduled voluntary activities. As such, there is no reason for any districts to cancel events, trips, or extra-curricular activities.