About half a million public school students across B.C. are heading back to school this morning, after teachers approved a contract to end a strike that dates back to before the end of the last school year.

In most school districts, Monday will be a short day for student orientation, with a full day of regular classes starting Tuesday. Parents are advised to check with their local school boards for details about the new school calendars.

Grade 9 student Isobel Finch says it's about time.

"It felt really long, like it's way longer than the other summers because we got out of school early too," she said.


Half a million students across B.C. return to classes Monday, but for many, it will be a short day. Drivers are urged to slow down and respect school zones. (Shutterstock)

Students missed the first three weeks of classes in September and the last two weeks of classes in June, for a total of 27 instructional days.

But Education Minister Peter Fassbender has said the government has no plans to extend the school year to make up for lost class time, and that schools will move forward with the existing calendar.

Liz Hoffman, a parent, says since school won't be extended, teachers will have to adapt the curriculum.

"I think it's very detrimental to the kids because now the children are going to have the curriculum crammed into a shorter timeline in order to meet the standards that are required," she said.

Not all parents were that worried. Lorraine Finch says the kids are up for it.

"They're just going to have to work a little bit harder," she said. "The teachers will have to probably work a little bit harder too, but they'll make it work."

Last-minute shopping

Parents of school-aged children spent much of the weekend shopping, while teachers were busy getting classes ready.

But nearly everyone seemed to be happy the strike was over, and their children were finally going back to school.

Shawna May and family

Shawna May was out shopping for back-to-school-clothes for her daughter Saturday, preparing for the return to classes at B.C. public schools. (CBC)

Shopping malls were busy over the weekend as parents snapped up school supplies. Many said they were expecting to pay around $200 per child.

Vancouver mom Shawna May, who was out shopping with her daughter on Saturday, said it has been a bit of a last- minute rush.

"it's been pretty crazy," she said, "especially since the school strike and everything. You couldn't really get things in order because you didn't know what was going on."

School zones in effect

Police across the province are reminding drivers that school zones are in effect, and asking them to slow down and keep an eye out for children.

The maximum speed limit is 30 km/h  from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during school days. Speeders face a maximum fine of $196.