The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF) decision to "work to rule" by withdrawing all teachers' voluntary services has been rescinded following the appointment of a mediator to try to resolve the ongoing labour dispute between teachers and the provincial government.
The "work to rule" order, which took effect on Monday, May 30, lasted only the one day before word came that the STF was returning to the bargaining table following the appointment of a mediator. Teachers have been working without a contract since August 2010.
The withdrawal of teachers' voluntary services would have resulted in the cancellation of all extra-curricular actitivties, and could have threatened some graduation ceremonies as well.
Unfortunately, it may be too late to save the provincial track and field championships. The Saskatchewan High Schools Athletics Association (SHSAA) made the announcement on May 28 that Provincials would be cancelled. SHSAA executive director Lyle McKellar said Tuesday morning that even with the mediation, it might be too late to reschedule provincials, as many teams have already cancelled their hotel bookings and transportation arrangements. If Provincials remain cancelled, it would be the first time in almost 60 years that they have not taken place. The last time was in 1954, when heavy rains washed the competition out.
Otherwise, all extracurricular activities, including the Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) Mohawks' spring football camp, are back on. HCI will also likely go ahead with its annual variety night, which was originally scheduled for this week. A new date has not yet been set.
As for upcoming graduations, HCI students did not have to worry about the cancellation of their ceremonies at any rate, as HCI grad is held during school hours. This year's ceremonies take place June 29.
HCI principal Keith Thompson noted the after-grad banquet and grand march could have been affected, as those events take place in the evening. He said organizers were working together with parents and other volunteers to ensure there would be enough non-teachers available to supervise the banquet, and they'll still have a contingency plan in place should the "work to rule" order be reinstated.
Unfortunately, HCI's year-end award ceremonies won't go ahead. They were scheduled for June 7. Thompson said it is likely too late to reverse the decision to cancel, since guests originally scheduled to participate in the awards have likely changed their plans accordingly. But Thompson stressed the wards themselves will still be given out, and worthy students will be recognized for their achievements.
"For sure we still want to recognize the kids," he said. "It just may not be in a formal way."
Elsewhere, principal Christy Baumann confirmed the graduation ceremonies at Viscount Central School were going ahead as planned this Friday, June 3, whether teachers were available to participate or not. She declined to comment on whether the ceremonies would be held in the daytime or evening.
Other upcoming graduations that could have been affected by the labour dispute include those at Bruno High School, Engelfeld School and Lanigan Central High School, all on June 10; LeRoy School on June 17; and St. Peter's High School in Muenster on June 24.