Good morning County. Happy Monday!
I hope many of you had a chance to partake in the Professional Association PD day on Friday. If you did, the appropriate reimbursement form can be found by accessing myhrsb and looking under article 60. The provincial conference day information is right at the top. (https://www.myhrsb.ca/functions/hr/article60/)
Last week, the substitute shortage hit the airways, and I know that many of you are feeling the pinch. HRSB sent a list out last week to principals of all the efforts they are making in order to secure substitutes, which includes a fairly aggressive recruiting strategy. While we applaud the board’s efforts, we also have a very keen interest in exploring how the board is working to reduce stress levels amongst staff. We all know that stress is a major contributing factor to personal wellness, but there have been a string of announcements that have come out from the HRSB recently that have seemed to only increase stress amongst the members. We are hoping that we can work with HRSB to find ways they can help maintain a healthy workforce, thus reducing the need for substitutes.
On a related note, I hope that by now everyone understands that the new Staff Attendance Support Policy DOES NOT APPLY TO NSTU MEMBERS. We have a number of concerns with this policy as it is written, and have passed those on to provincial NSTU for consultation. We will advise as we get more information.
I am also hearing quite a bit of chatter around holiday concerts, as the season approaches. Some staffs have gotten quite creative in how they are to handle the issue, including voting. I will state again that supervising students outside of the 20/20 is, for the most part, voluntary. When it comes to concerts, teachers can not be required to attend. This is not some new development; attendance at such events has always been voluntary.
There was some buzz last week around inclement weather, and the idea that HRSB was considering trying a “delayed start” this year in order to deal with school closures. This is not a new policy, but it is one HRSB has not yet attempted, at least not in recent memory. This is meant, as I understand it, for those mornings when the roads are icy at 6:00am, but are clear when the sun hits them at 8:00am. We do have some concerns around this, particularly considering the travel involved for some teachers, but the employer does have the right to set policy. We are certain that if this is implemented at some point, it will be done so with a mind to the safety of all members.
Finally, I know that I have mentioned this before, but please be aware that social media may not always be your best source of information. If you have any questions about anything in your contract, please reach out to me directly.
That’s it for this week, folks. I hope you have a safe and happy Hallowe’en.