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Teachers to withdraw extracurr support on Monday; PSSD teachers will withdraw lunch supervision

Extracurricular activities include sports, drama, music, band, science clubs, intramurals, rehearsals, student leadership activities, planning for graduation celebrations, book fairs, and other clubs and activities.
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Saskatchewan teachers will withdraw support for all extracurricular activities provincewide on Monday, Feb. 26, while educators with Prairie South School Division will withdraw noon-hour supervision.

Extracurricular activities include sports, drama, music, band, science clubs, intramurals, rehearsals, student leadership activities, planning for graduation celebrations, book fairs, and other clubs and activities. All such event that take place before school, during lunch hour, after school and in the evening are included.

“Teachers are passionate about the work we do to support students in classrooms and within the school community. We never want to be in a situation where opportunities for students are impacted; however, this government has left us no other options,” said Samantha Becotte, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. 

“Beginning with a one-day withdrawal of these services is not something that we take lightly. Government needs to recognize the magnitude of the situation they have caused and continue to contribute to, get serious, and return to the table ready to bargain on the real issues impacting Saskatchewan students,” she continued. 

“Once again, I encourage parents, families and community members to reach out to their MLAs, the minister of education and the premier to voice their concerns.” 

Feb. 26 will also see the continuation of rotating noon-hour supervision withdrawals. Withdrawal of noon-hour supervision means teachers will not be available to supervise students who are eating lunch at school or taking part in noon-hour activities, the STF said. 

Although teachers often provide lunch break supervision, it is done on a voluntary basis. Student supervision is the responsibility of the school division, while supervisors are not required to be teachers. 

Withdrawal of noon-hour supervision will involve teachers who are members of the following local associations:

  • Northern Area Teachers’ Association: All schools in Northern Lights School Division
  • North West Teachers’ Association: All schools in Northwest School Division
  • Prairie South Teachers’ Association: All schools in Prairie South School Division
  • Saskatoon Teachers’ Association: All schools in Saskatoon Public Schools and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools
  • Tri-West Teachers’ Association: All schools in Living Sky School Division, Light of Christ Catholic School Division and Sakewew High School (North Battleford)

The STF invites parents and caregivers to attend an information night virtually through Zoom at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26. Becotte will provide information about the status of contract negotiations and teacher job action as part of this virtual event. Space is limited to 5,000 registrants, and registration is available on the STF website.

Prairie South response

Ryan Boughen, director of education for Prairie South, said in a letter to parents that because of the one-day withdrawal of extracurricular activities and one-day rotating withdrawal of noon-hour supervision, all PSSD schools would shut down all such activities on Feb. 26. 

“We also ask that your child(ren) go home for lunch as our ability to provide the same level of noon-hour supervision will be a challenge. All classes and curricular school activities will continue as scheduled,” he continued. 

The division respects the collective bargaining process, while its main priority is student safety and maintaining a focus on student learning, Boughen said.

“We recognize the challenges posed by this job action and we appreciate your support,” he added.

Government response

In an email response to the Express, the ministry said, "The Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee (GTBC) has extended invitations every day this week to the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) to come back to the bargaining table, where negotiators have been waiting ready to engage in meaningful discussions. Unfortunately, the union continues to choose job action over bargaining. 
"The government has moved on a number of items that the STF asked for, including a renewed salary mandate and workplace safety enhancements. The STF has refused to move off their initial proposals, including a 23.4 per cent salary increase. Outside of bargaining, the government has proposed an agreement with the STF to annualize the $53.1 million in additional funding for class size and complexity. 

"Since October, the STF has been at the bargaining table for a total of 30 minutes. Teachers and students should be in the classroom, and the teachers’ union should be at the bargaining table."

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