Nova Scotia

What teachers' job action means for school lunch, breakfast programs

Some breakfast and hot lunch programs at Nova Scotia schools will be affected by the pending job action from teachers.

Parents should check with their school if their child uses school breakfast or lunch programs

Some school breakfast and lunch programs won't happen during the work-to-rule job action teachers are expected to take beginning Dec. 5. (Hans Pennink/Associated Press)

Some breakfast and hot lunch programs at Nova Scotia schools will be affected by the pending job action by teachers.

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union said its members will work-to-rule starting Dec. 5, which means they will perform only duties required by their contract and no more.

Here's what school boards say work-to-rule will mean for their lunch and breakfast programs: 

Tri-County Regional School Board

It should be business as usual for students who eat breakfast and lunch at the Tri-County Regional School Board.

"We are working with staff to ensure breakfast programs and lunch programs continue," Lisa Doucet, the superintendent of schools, said Thursday.

Annapolis Valley Regional School Board

The AVRSB has posted answers to frequently asked questions about the job action on its website. It will continue providing supervision at lunch time and at recess.

"Breakfast programs may continue with the assistance of volunteers, and this will be a school-based decision," the board says on its site.

Halifax Regional School Board

The HRSB has also posted a note about what to expect during the job action. 

"Breakfast and/or hot lunch programs may be impacted. Any changes will be communicated to you by the school," writes Elwin LeRoux, superintendent of schools.

Ellenvale Junior High School, for instance, has told parents via email that it won't offer its breakfast program during the job action. 

Doug Hadley, spokesman for the board, said it has more than 100 breakfast programs run in different ways.

There may be no impact at schools where NSTU members are not involved, he said, while breakfast programs run entirely by NSTU members may not be able to operate.

He added that some programs could operate, but will look different. For instance, what was a sit-down breakfast may instead be a "grab-and-go."

Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board

The CBVRSB posted an FAQ on the job action, but no specific information on any breakfast or lunch programs.

Beth MacIsaac, the board superintendent, advised parents to contact schools to find out if the breakfast programs are continuing to run. 

"What some schools are doing is developing a grab-and-go package for kids that they can pick up in the morning," she said. "There won't be time for a full hot breakfast program unless it is completely run by volunteers."

South Shore Regional School Board

Scott Milner, superintendent of the SSRSB, said lunch programs and the cafeterias will continue "as long as possible." How long will depend on how much supervision can be provided and if money can be collected.

"SSRSB will be providing breakfast programs where they are regularly offered within the 20-minute window when schools will be open to students in the morning. Community and parent volunteers will also be continuing their work, but within the 20-minute window," he added.

Strait Regional School Board

The Strait Regional School Board posted an FAQ to its site explaining what can be expected at the school during the job action. It says breakfast programs may be affected and individual schools will tell parents what's happening. 

Chignecto-Central Regional School Board

Debbie Buott-Matheson, spokeswoman for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, said they anticipate no changes to cafeteria or lunch service at their schools.

"With regards to breakfast programs, we are working to figure this out now. It is our hope that breakfast programs will be able to continue during the period of strike activity, but this will need to be determined on a school-by-school basis," she said Friday.

CBC News has not yet heard from Conseil scolaire acadien provincial.

Christmas concerts, field trips cancelled

The union that represents public school teachers in Nova Scotia decided on work-to-rule job action after contract talks with the province collapsed. The Nova Scotia Teachers Union said its 9,300 teachers will only do work required by their contract. Teachers will continue to teach and prepare lessons. 

In the simplest terms, it means teachers will show up just 20 minutes before the start of each school day, only do tasks related to classroom learning and leave 20 minutes after the end of each school day. The arrival and departure edict also applies to teachers with administrative duties.

Extracurricular events such as Christmas concerts, field trips and sporting events will all be cancelled as of Dec. 5. In the case of the latter, an official with the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation said as long as work-to-rule is in place, the organization's insurance is null and void. That means no games, tournaments, exhibitions or even practices.