St. Michaels University School rugby player Jeff Nishima-Miller prepares for contact with the Gulf Islands’ Alex Graham during the Vancouver Island seven-a-side tournament at Centennial Stadium on Friday. Private schools such as SMUS won’t be affected by this week’s teachers’ vote

St. Michaels University School rugby player Jeff Nishima-Miller prepares for contact with the Gulf Islands’ Alex Graham during the Vancouver Island seven-a-side tournament at Centennial Stadium on Friday. Private schools such as SMUS won’t be affected by this week’s teachers’ vote

Teacher strike could affect high school grad, sports and drama this spring

Voluntary extracurricular activities cancelled in Saanich district, no word in Victoria expected until Friday

Dorothy will soon click her ruby slippers across the Ridge Playhouse stage during Claremont secondary’s presentation of The Wizard of Oz.

However, not all schools will have the opportunity to present their final productions as the threat of a province-wide removal of voluntary extracurricular activities looms.

Teachers vote this week (April 17 to 19) on whether to support the B.C. Teachers’ Federation plan to ramp up job action with boycotts of voluntary services.

The move is in protest of Bill 22 – legislation that removes class size and composition limits and introduces hefty fines for teachers who strike. If supported, this week’s vote will trigger a second vote on whether to support a potential walkout.

Teachers in about a dozen districts across B.C., including Sooke and Saanich, are already strongly recommending that their colleagues refuse to volunteer for extracurricular activities.

Sports, music and theatre programming offered outside regular school hours are generally considered extracurricular.

However, The Wizard of Oz – which involves 90 students, or about 10 per cent of the school’s population – will continue since the production is part of a course that is considered curricular.

“I empathize with the other teachers around the province who have put so much time in and are looking at having to cancel if the vote goes ahead with the removal of extracurricular (activities),” said Claremont drama teacher Colin Plant. “There are productions around the province that are stopping.”

Plant, who is also the president of the Association of B.C. Drama Educators, noted the association’s annual provincial drama festival, slated to take place May 3 in New Westminster, was cancelled to mitigate financial loss if the vote passes as expected.

The cancellation of theatre productions is primarily a secondary school issue, Plant said. Drama tends to be a part of exploratory programs at the elementary and middle school levels, and performances are often fit into regular class times.

The Saanich School District officially announced the cancellation of voluntary extracurricular activities on April 12. Parent and community involvement will allow most sporting events in high schools to continue.

All voluntary extracurricular activities such as athletics, choir and drama will not take place at the elementary school level.

At middle schools, most athletics have been cancelled and decisions regarding other special events have been made based on levels of support at each school. Arrangements have yet to be made for graduation ceremonies, which require teacher involvement.

“While we expect the ceremonies to occur,” the announcement reads, “we are uncertain as to the status of other post-ceremony events and appreciate that parents, administrators, teachers, support staff and student leaders are in ongoing discussions regarding grad.”

Meanwhile, it’s been anything but business as usual for teachers performing regular duties in the district, said Sean Hayes, president of the Saanich Teachers’ Association.

“Teachers are concerned and frustrated and worried,” said Hayes, who has spent much of the last couple of weeks visiting schools to discuss Bill 22 and the action plan with teachers. “Certainly there are people wondering what the right thing to do is and how to effectively oppose the direction of government and (if) this is the right way to do it.”

In Greater Victoria, teachers plan to participate in voluntary extracurricular activities – except in some select cases – until the results of the BCTF vote, confirmed Tara Ehrcke, president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association.

Results are likely to be released Friday.

To read the full announcement on voluntary extracurricular activities in the Saanich School District, visit sd63.bc.ca.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

Check it out

The Wizard of Oz, Claremont’s first musical aimed at all-ages, runs May 2 to 5, and from May 9 to 12, at 7 p.m., with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on May 12.

All tickets are $12.50 and are available by calling 250-658-6672.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The construction zone remains for now at Clover Point, but plans for a new pedestrian zone and partially closed traffic loop were approved by Victoria councillors on Thursday. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria council compromises with partial closure of Clover Point

Option preserves parking 14 spots facing ocean, creates more pedestrian space

(Black Press Media file photo)
Trees Cannabis to reignite downtown Victoria location as licensed store

The dispensary will reopen its 230 Cook St. location on Saturday

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read