School hallways were filled with busy chatter Monday morning for the first time since June when classes were disrupted by teachers’ job action.
“I’m relieved to be back in school,” said Grade 12 student Olivia Rolfe at Heritage Park secondary.
Classmate Natalie Alves was also anxious for school to begin and was e-mailing her teachers to talk about classes even before schools started up for the year.
Rolfe and Alves, who are both scheduled to graduate in January after taking extra courses, are worried about the shortened school year and hope their plan to graduate early isn’t affected.
Both students spent their first few hours at school sorting out their timetable — a task that is usually done before school begins.
“I don’t blame the teachers,” said Rolfe.
“I’m happy (the strike) didn’t go on longer than it did,” added Alves, who is prepared for a “tough” year ahead.
Heritage Park principal Jim Pearce said administrators at the school are prepared to support students, teachers and other staff.
“We’re good listeners and will take the time to figure things out,” said Pearce. “It’s going to be rough for the next couple of weeks to make sure all students’ needs are met.”
Pearce also recognized it was difficult for teachers to be out of their classrooms.
“Teachers usually start to prepare for the school year around Aug. 15,” he explained. “Your mind starts to change around that time, but they didn’t do that this year … teachers are certainly professionals and they know that to do.”
There are no plans to adjust the school calendar for the year, said Pearce, however provincial exams are being pushed back a week to allow for an extra week of instruction. Teachers are expected to cover the full curriculum despite missing more than two weeks of school.
Any changes to the school calendar has to be done on a provincial level, explained school board trustee Jim Taylor. “From my understanding, that will not happen.”