November 16, 2020
To: All Members
Re: Extra-curricular Activities
Balancing work commitments and personal responsibilities is important to overall wellness and should be considered by members when making decisions regarding volunteer activities. The NLTA recommended to government that all extra-curricular activities be temporarily suspended. Unfortunately, this advice was not heeded in government’s K-12 Education Re-entry Plan. More recently, the Association has raised concern surrounding an NLESD decision to further expand access to school premises and facilities for extra-curricular, non-essential activities.
As per Clauses 29.03, 29.06 and 29.08 of the Provincial Collective Agreement (Clauses 17.02, 17.05 and 17.07 of the Labrador West Collective Agreement), teachers’ participation in extra-curricular activities and committees is voluntary:
29.03: It is agreed that extra-curricular activities are a desirable part of a well-rounded education. It is also agreed that the principal and staff of each school will determine the extra-curricular activities to be provided in their school. Notwithstanding this, a teacher’s participation in any extra-curricular activity requires that teacher’s consent.
29.08: A teacher’s participation on a school-based or board-based committee requires that teacher’s consent.
There are obvious health and safety concerns associated with bringing groups of students together, likely from various cohorts, for additional periods of time. The NLTA position is that it is counter-productive to increase non-essential access to school buildings and cohort mixing at the same time that Public Health officials have implemented more stringent "stay at home" precautions.
Teachers should be mindful, this year more than ever, of protecting their personal time and maintaining as reasonable a work/life balance as possible. Teacher volunteerism is always worthwhile and has a positive impact on school culture, but these are individual decisions based on personal circumstances. Having volunteered in the past does not obligate a teacher to continue in this capacity.
This school year is presenting many new issues, challenges and demands for NLTA members. As professionals, teachers should consider what they can reasonably take on, prioritize, and feel comfortable exercising the discretion they have to set professional limits on voluntary activities for 2020-21.
Any member directed to participate in a voluntary activity should contact the Association for advice via email@example.com