Recess cancelled in Haida Gwaii School District

Job action by B.C. teachers have necessitated drastic changes to school schedules on Haida Gwaii.

Job action by B.C. teachers have necessitated drastic changes to school schedules on Haida Gwaii.

On May 27, trustees of the Haida Gwaii School District voted to cancel recess effective last Friday, meaning schools across the district begin 15 minutes later and buses pickup students 10 minutes later than usual.

Haida Gwaii School District superintendent Angus Wilson said the decision was one that was not easy to make but was necessary to do.

“We have gone through job action and not had to cancel recess a few years ago, but that was in the winter … this is a different time of year and we seem to have fewer administrators and more that needs to be done later in the school year,” he said.

“It was unmanageable. We had to look at cancelling recess because we were sort of out of the loop until 11 a.m.”

Although the decision was made only last Friday, Wilson said he has already heard about it.

“It’s not something we went into lightly. My own daughter came up to me and told me ‘you need to reinstate recess because this isn’t fun’,” he said.

“So it is something that has impacted me personally.”

Haida Gwaii Teachers Association president Evelyn von Almassy said the decision by the district is not one she or other teachers agrees with.

“It’s certainly not educationally sound. All children, particularly little ones, need fresh air and they need to move … I’m just glad our district didn’t cancel recess right away like some other districts did,” she said.

Although von Almassy said teachers will still be doing their best to take kids out of the classroom, she said parents throughout the province should be making their concerns about situations like this heard.

“If parents don’t like, like teachers and I don’t like it, they should email Minister Fassbender and ask him to come to the table and negotiate in good faith,” she said.

“I think all taxpayers should be outraged by this government.”