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Summer school cancelled in Chilliwack

Chilliwack school district pulled the plug on summer learning Monday morning.

The school district had hoped an 11th hour deal would be made between teachers and the government so as to continue with its summer learning programs. For weeks, it would not commit to canceling summer school, holding hope an agreement would be reached in time.

A special board meeting on Thursday determined a deal had to be made by Monday in order for summer learning to go as planned.

By Monday morning, with no deal in place, hope was gone.

"Due to continued strike action and knowing that our sites would be picketed, we've cancelled our summer school programs," said Chilliwack school district superintendent Evelyn Novak.

Last week the BC Teachers' Federation announced it would continue to picket through the summer, including summer school sites, if a deal wasn't reached.

In order for the school district to go ahead with summer learning, it would require principals and vice principals to operate the programs.

"It would be very challenging to do that," said Novak.

"If we didn't cancel, and if we tried to go ahead, the teachers would be out there picketing at our five sites.

"It couldn't go ahead."

Chilliwack's summer learning courses don't fall under the essential services ruling by the Labour Relations Board.

Last week the LRB ruled summer school courses for grades 10-12 students were essential. But only remedial courses.

All of Chilliwack's courses are either intervention courses with math and literacy reviews or preview courses to give students a jump up for the following year.

"We feel this is a loss," said Novak. "We value those programs. We value the work our staff does in supporting those programs."

The school district is requesting parents be advocates for their children when school reopens in the fall by setting up meetings with their school-based teams to ensure supports are in place for struggling students.

In Chilliwack, remedial courses are completed through Fraser Valley Distance Education, which, as of Monday, is open and won't be picketed. More on that to come.

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

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