Classes for the 2013-14 school year begin on Wednesday for the 14,000 students in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith district.
While students in the almost 40 schools in Nanaimo-Ladysmith typically begin the school year on the Tuesday after Labour Day, district staff members will be participating in a "Success For All" workshop on that day.
Most students usually attend school for just a half-day on their first day back, but many will be expected to attend for a full day on Wednesday.
Students should check with their schools to confirm class times for Wednesday.
After a year of relative labour peace in 2012-13, this school year begins in B.C. with an air of uncertainty as negotiations continue between the province and both CUPE, which represents school support workers, and the B.C. Teachers' Federation, that represents the province's teachers.
Negotiators with the province and CUPE, which represents school custodians, bus drivers, secretaries and other support workers, are scheduled to head back to the bargaining table early next week, just as classes resume, but CUPE has already stated publicly a strike is a real possibility.
Jim Iker, president of the BCTF, has said his members will "stand in solidarity" with CUPE, but he declined to say whether that means teachers will refuse to cross picket lines.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender said Wednesday that he's "optimistic" a deal will be reached without any disruption to schools.
"We're at the negotiating table," he said. "I'm not going to compromise that in any way, shape or form. We have one plan. That is to come to a settlement, to avoid any disruption."
When asked what he'd do if teachers decided to respect potential picket lines, Fassbender didn't answer the question directly, saying he was "not going to presume anything at this stage."
While the vast majority of the students in Nanaimo-Ladysmith are already in the system and had the schools they will attend assigned during the last school year, there are still families in the district that are registering their children for the first time, or wish to change their schools.
Parents who still need to register their students for school can determine which schools are in their neighbourhoods, or catchment areas, by going to the district's website at www.sd68. bc.ca.
The list of school supplies that students will need to begin the year depends on each school, and some have already informed the parents what is required, but in most cases district officials are advising parents to wait until their childrens' teachers inform them of what they'll need for their classes as school begins.
The Nanaimo-Ladysmith School Foundation is currently holding its annual "Stock the Lockers" drive to raise $50,000 to help district students in need acquire school supplies and help pay for other materials and fees they need throughout the year "We welcome all of our students to a new school year and we want to make the beginning of the school year as easy as we can for everyone," said district spokeswoman Donna Reimer.
Motorists are reminded that the speed limit in school zones is 30 kilometres per hour, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on all school days.
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