Sunset Elementary principal Steve Gray holds the door as students and parents arrive on the first morning of school in Port McNeill Monday

Sunset Elementary principal Steve Gray holds the door as students and parents arrive on the first morning of school in Port McNeill Monday

Class is back in session

North Island public school students returned to class Monday morning.

PORT HARDY—North Island public school students returned to class Monday morning, four days after the BC Teachers’ Federation voted to ratify a tentative contract with the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association and end a strike that began in mid-June.

“School District 85 is pleased that the teachers and the government have reached a tentative agreement,” SD85 Superintendent Scott Benwell wrote in a letter to each of the families with students in the district. “We thank everyone for their extraordinary patience during a difficult time for all.”

Elementary and secondary schools opened Monday with an abbreviated schedule. The first full day of classes was Tuesday.

Kindergarden students have had an abbreviated, gradual entry, with full-day attendance expected by today, the district said. Parents have been contacted by the schools to determine specific start dates for their students.

School buses on all routes will run on the same schedules they had in place when the strike commenced last June. Routes are posted on the district’s website at www.sd85.bc.ca under “Transportation Services”.

The ministry has notified superintendents that the school year will not be extended to make up the days lost to the strike.

Three weeks of instruction time were lost since the scheduled beginning of the school year Sept. 2, in addition to the two weeks at the end of June.

The teachers’ union and the government reached a tentative agreement on a six-year contract early in the morning Sept. 16. Local union memberships held their ratification votes Thursday, with 86 per cent voting to approve the agreement. Approximately 75 per cent of teachers voted.