Day of mourning closes B.C. schools

Sept. 19 was an unexpected day off from school for B.C. students following the provincial government confirming it would observe the federal holiday for mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The B.C. government announced the end of day Sept. 13 that provincial public sectors would observe the federal holiday, meaning K-12 public schools and public post-secondary schools would be closed.

“We encourage private-sector employers to find a way to recognize or reflect on the day in a way that is appropriate for their employees,” Premier John Horgan said in a statement. “This will be a national day to reflect on the incredible life of Canada’s Queen and the longest-serving monarch in British history.”

“All public school districts in B.C. are following the direction of the province and Ministry of Education,” Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools’ director of communications, Dale Burgos, said when asked what the school district’s message is to families faced with rejigging their schedules or searching for child care with less than a week’s notice.

While schools as well as daycares that operate at school district facilities were closed as on all statutory holidays, district staff notified child care providers that their usual space would still be available on Sept. 19 should they decide to stay open.

NLPS staff will be compensated in the same way they are for other statutory holidays. The school district is awaiting direction from the Ministry of Education as to how lost instructional time will be attended to, Burgos said.

Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder