Students from School District 63 will not be in class Monday, as a strike by support workers continues.

Negotiations are still underway, but officials made the announcement just before 3 p.m. Sunday. Picketing at all sites will start at 7 a.m. Monday while negotiations continue.

A group of parents is taking things into their own hands, starting a Facebook event to stand behind the striking workers.

“We had a group page and we were all talking as parents about ways we can help… we created a Facebook [event], our intention is to support CUPE in getting a fair wage and getting our children teachers and support staff back in school,” said SD63 parent Ashley Martin.

It will be a week Monday since support workers walked off the job. They’re asking for wage parity, so their income will be in line with those in neighbouring Victoria and Sooke.

And the effects of low wages in Saanich is something Ashley Martin, whose son needs extra assistance, has seen first hand.

“My son is so lucky to have the amazing support team at school, they put in different things in place to assist him,” said Martin.

“The reality is when they are short people and when there is not enough EA’s and bodies in the school, I get called to pick up my child from school, on quite a regular basis, and it’s not the school’s fault, it’s because there is not enough support from the school.”

The group says support workers play an essential role for all kids, and these parents are planning a rally Friday — and considering further action.

“We are all sort of waiting to see if negotiations come to any resolution this weekend, if they don’t I am sure we will be talking about other options and events,” said SD63 parent Carolyn Moeller.

And right now parents are finding creative ways to work together while their kids are stuck at home.

“I’ve definitely seen through lots of Facebook posts, parents childcare sharing, which I think is awesome,” added Moeller.

Meanwhile, students are starting to feel frustrated.

“It feels like we are going to be bombarded with work when we get back, and it’s going to be stressful. I already asked my teacher and she said we are not going to be cutting into summer break,” said Cayden Moeller, a grade seven student.

“I’m feeling sad that people who have worked there have had to move to a different district,” said Connor Mccune, a grade two student.

But on Sunday negotiations continued with optimism.

“They’re back at the table and both parties believe they’ll be coming to an agreement relatively quickly and we can only trust that will be the case,” said Don Peterson, president of the Saanich Teachers’ Association.

But students will miss at least another day of class, as school is canceled Monday.

Julian Kolsut