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New West first up for rotating teachers strike

New Westminster is scheduled to be one of the first districts to go behind the picket line when one-day, rotating teachers strikes begin Monday.

District superintendent/CEO John Gaiptman said if New West schools do go behind picket lines Monday he will ask parents to keep their children at home.

"Certainly our hope is the Ministry of Education and the BCTF are able to find a resolution, but we would not be able to ensure children were safe with just one or two people at a school monitoring the students," said Gaiptman on Tuesday. "We're hoping parents understand the issue and keep their sons and daughters at home."

Gaiptman added schools will remain open, but at some point will be phoning the parents of students who do show up to have them picked up. Only principals and vice-principals will be at the schools since support staff will be honouring the teachers picket line. Most of New West's elementary schools do not have a vice-principal and the middle schools—Queensborough and Glenbrook—have one each.

"Before anything else you have to ensure the children are safe. With one or two people doing supervision, you can't insure the children are going to be safe," said Gaiptman. "That's not a lot of numbers for supervision. It's just not a safe situation."

School lunch programs will also be cancelled for that day.

City to offer strike camp Monday

The city is offering a one-day camp for school-aged children needing something to do during Monday’s rotating teachers strike in New Westminster.

The parks department will hold a one-day camp based out of Moody Park Arena called Jr. Club Royale. They’ll provide crafts, sports activities and a walk to Queen’s Park to visit the petting farm.

It will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is for children ages 5 to 11.

Participants are asked to dress for the weather and pack snacks, a lunch and a water bottle.

To register go to www.newwestpcr.ca and click on the register online button and insert barcode 137268, or call 604-525-5301. The cost is $32.

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