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BEPPLE – Hard-working school teachers deserve a two-week spring break

YESTERDAY, OUT FOR my lunchtime walk, I happened to go by my neighborhood school.  It was so wonderful to see groups of children running and playing together.

The air filled with their voices. “Tag your it” “Pass the ball.”  “I’m the king of the castle.”

The schools have done a fantastic job not just keeping kids safe, but giving them the chance to be kids.

Whatever else we can say about the long year of Covid, what is certain is the outstanding job that teachers, support staff and administration have done.

A year ago, they didn’t know they would be responsible to deliver online schooling.  They didn’t know there would be protocols, social distancing, masking and extra cleaning.  Or supporting students both face-to-face and at home self-isolating.

The joy of listening to kids playing in a school playground was double for me knowing all the work that has been put in place to make it possible.

It’s been a year of good work by teachers and others in the Kamloops/Thompson School District.

But it hasn’t been without a price.

When I talk to teachers, their voices are tired.  They’ve done what needed to be done.  They continue to put in the extra hours.

While many of us can work in isolation at home, teachers and others are on the frontline every day facing hundreds of students in their schools.  It’s been a long year, and they’re tired.

It’s only the beginning of February, and all they have to look forward to is a one week spring break in March.  Twelve long months of Covid, and a one week spring break.

Kamloops/Thompson School District is just one of a handful (with Vancouver Island North, Campbell River and Bulkley Valley by my last record) of public school districts in B.C. who have a one-week spring break.  All the others have a two-week break.

Kamloops/Thompson had a two-week break until 2018.  But it wasn’t in the collective agreements for teachers and others.  In 2018, the district returned to one-week breaks pending negotiating a new contract with the teachers and others.

The district did offer to add a second week to spring break if teachers gave up five days of Pro-D.  Generous indeed.

The teachers I know have taken on a huge amount of additional work because of COVID.  Telling someone they can have five days off by using their own time to do it is anything but generous.

We’re all tired.   A year in, we all feel the COVID fatigue.  And there are many more months of COVID ahead.

Listening to kids play in a school playground gives me hope that we’ll get our energy back.  But for now, we need our teachers to have energy to support our kids as well.

It’s time for us to support teachers and other school staff and tell Thompson/Kamloops to join almost every other district in the province.

For this year, tell Thompson/Kamloops School District to give the kids, teachers, support staff and others a two-week spring break.

Nancy Bepple is a former City councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.

About Mel Rothenburger (8036 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on BEPPLE – Hard-working school teachers deserve a two-week spring break

  1. I’m confused by the statement “Telling someone they can have five days off by using their own time to do it is anything but generous.” We are told as Parents and Tax Payers that Pro D is professional development days, they are paid for and time the teachers use to learn gather and goto workshops….that I believe the unions pay for. Now if this is correct….these are not their ‘own’ days and this statement is incorrect. If this is not true, that these pro d days are for thier own time then I suggest counting those days in a school year… they don’t need the extra 5 days.

  2. Nancy, I couldn’t agree more! Teachers have put their hearts and souls into ensuring that kids are safely learning in schools. They are all feeling the pressures of all the adjustments they’ve had to make. They’re tired. Almost all school districts in BC have 2 week spring breaks. Kamloops should giving our teachers the same!

  3. Thank you Ms. Bepple, your thoughts and words are appreciated!

  4. Thanks Nancy for the kind words, as well as trying to put it out there again about the spring break conundrum. Just a reminder to your readers that parents, staff and admin were in favor of 2 weeks in a survey that was completed a few years ago. School act requires a certain amount of days per year a teacher instructs, regardless of days off at spring break or xmas. More days without instruction are made up in other ways like less time for lunch or recess etc.
    This year has been full of new protocols and routines as well as the uncertainties of community outbreaks.
    I and, I’m sure, many of my colleagues appreciate your observations and awareness.
    Again, thankyou!

  5. Darryl Schmidt // February 3, 2021 at 1:08 PM // Reply

    If this is all you have to complain about, I’d suggest looking around a bit at the rest of the people working very hard and not getting any time off.

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