July 20, 2020

The NLTA was advised today that the Minister of Education has changed the start date of the 2020-21 school year from Tuesday, September 8 to Wednesday, September 2 . Under subsection 27 (1) of the Schools Act, the Minister has sole authority to determine the opening and closing dates of the school year and is under no obligation to consult with the Association in this regard. The overall length of the school year for teachers has not been increased. Clauses 28.01 (a) (ii) and 16.01 (a) (ii) of the Provincial and Labrador West Collective Agreements, respectively, establish the length of the school year as consisting of 195 days , comprised of 185 actual teaching days, 3 paid holidays, 2 administrative days, 1 report card preparation day, and 4 professional development days, one of which is reserved for professional development needs identified by teachers at the school level. As a result of this collective agreement provision, three additional days will need to be incorporated into the 2020-21 school year calendars as non-teaching/non-contact days (breaks). The NLESD has confirmed that the required consultation with teachers under the Collective Agreements with respect to determining a new holiday schedule will occur after school has re-opened. It has been confirmed that the first day of school attendance for students has not been changed and will remain on Wednesday, September 9. For the NLESD, September 2 will be an administration day, while September 3 and 4 and 8 will be professional development days for NLTA members. The Association has not received confirmation of CSFP scheduling or plans for communications with employees.

It is unfortunate that the Minister waited until after teachers had been dismissed for the school year to make this decision. Your Association understands and anticipates that some members may be challenged in making arrangements to be in attendance for work on an earlier date than was previously expected/required. Teachers facing this challenge are encouraged to contact an NLTA Administrative Officer in Programs and Services via mail@nlta.nl.ca for assistance and advice.