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UPDATE: Decision to cancel summer school postponed

The Abbotsford School District has delayed its decision to cancel summer school pending a Labour Relations Board (LRB) ruling Friday.

The government applied Tuesday to have remedial summer school declared an essential service by the LRB.

Abbotsford school district superintendent Kevin Godden had said that the district would be forced to cancel summer school Thursday if the ongoing teachers' strike had not been resolved. That decision will now be made Friday, after the LRB releases its decision.

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Summer courses were originally scheduled to start next week, but the breakdown in talks between the teachers and the province has the district preparing to cancel the programs.

Last year’s summer school enrolment totalled 1,674 students in three different components – secondary, elementary and online.

Superintendent Kevin Godden said on Tuesday that the district has left the decision as late as possible.

“We need time to be able to set it up, hire the teachers and prepare the classroom spaces,” Godden said. “We’ve left ourselves a minimum amount of time to do it, which is basically four days working through the weekend.”

But Godden doesn’t foresee any last-minute scramble.

“I don’t see the likeliness of a settlement in the next week,” said Godden, who last week was sounding optimistic that the strike would end soon.

The district will make a formal cancellation announcement on its website.

The Labour Relations Board – which previously declared the preparation of final grades for Grade 12 students an essential service — ruled this week that students in Grades 10 and 11 must receive report cards. That will see the Abbotsford school district work with the Abbotsford District Teachers’ Association (ADTA) this week to provide final grades to those students, according to Godden. Provincial exams for students in Grades 10 to 12 are concluding this week.

Godden said graduating students will likely receive their final report cards in the first week of July. Final marks for Grade 10/11 students may take considerably longer, since the district is operating without clerical staff due to the strike.

There will be no report cards for younger students without an agreement between teachers and the province.

Godden said the teachers had been working on a “condensed report card,” prior to this week. But that work stopped once they hit the picket lines full-time.

Despite the lack of report cards, Godden said students will be moved up to the next grade.

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