Parents of year-round students are afraid that if a deal isn’t reached soon, their kids will miss more than a month of classes, which are scheduled to run until late July, instead of the end of June.
The province’s 41,000 teachers launched a full-scale strike across B.C. today after the government and union failed to reach an agreement over the weekend.
Joseph Li has two children who attend year-round schooling at two different elementary schools in Richmond.
“If this strike or job action continues, most B.C. students would miss what they’ve missed so far, plus another week or so. But for my kids, they could potentially miss five to six weeks straight. I think that is excessive.”
“If the rest of B.C. students were facing the same situation, this would be resolved immediately,” said Li.
The Ministry of Education says they are aware of five schools operating on a year-round schedule also known as balanced calendar schooling, that offer standard kindergarten to Grade 12 programs.
The hours spent in class are the same as regular schools, but students in year-round schooling get three months off, scattered throughout the year.
Li said his main concern is that his children will fall behind on their studies.
“It’s very frustrating, not so much for my kindergarten child because she is doing a lot of reading and playing. But for my child in Grade 5, you are really learning and missing a lot of stuff from school at that age, that you should be learning”
Li and his wife plan to home-school their children through the summer until classes begin, but not all parents have that option, he said.
“You are lucky if you can find day care space, or summer camp space. It can be very difficult to find it and very expensive. On that point we are fortunate to be able to watch over our kids over this five to six weeks, potentially”
Li is also concerned about how the strike might affect students planning to attend summer school.
“There are a lot of kids that want to go to summer school. They will be affected the same way my kids are being affected.”
The Ministry of Education says it wants to see summer school go ahead, but the union has yet to announce how the strike might affect those plans.