COVID-19 Member Update for May 14, 2020

Good Evening Members,

On May 11, 2020 the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) held another of their weekly press conferences and at the 44-minute mark of the presentation Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove provided a clear explanation of the epidemiology of COVID-19.  She went on to further talk about the importance of the assessment and the types of interventions that need to be put in place.  Dr. Michael Ryan then went on to elaborate on the control measures for disease spread in communities, the dangers of swinging lockdowns, and managing the remaining risk with surveillance and response.  Having measures to mitigate the spread and to respond to cases along with community buy in is the key to making this work.

Both doctors addressed remaining questions that spoke to managing risk at an international level, and at the 57-minute mark Dr. Kerkhove outlined the six pieces of criteria that all countries need to take into account when they are considering adjusting their public health and social measures.  This is a must listen to as it might better help people to understand why different measures are being taken in different countries around the world, but also in various states, provinces, and regions within a specific country.  If you choose to listen right to the end there was also some very interesting dialogue about the possible longevity of this virus as well as reference to other well-known viruses.

While scientist around the globe are still learning about how this virus affects people there is one thing we can be assured of when it comes to adolescents and youth, they can catch COVID-19. Another definitive according to the W.H.O. is that adolescents can transmit the virus to other people, even if they have mild symptoms or do not feel ill.  For this reason, it is imperative that members take all safety measures seriously; from front door check-ins, to 6ft/2m physical distancing, and practicing good hygiene.  For those members that have even more cause for concern should they contract the virus, you need to be vocal about “Refusing Unsafe Work” should you see such measures not being adhered to; or if you feel you require additional protections while in the workplace and are being denied them.  The Union does have concerns about the reopening of our schools as we are receiving regular reports of staff/students not following the District’s protocols, and although we realize it is going to take some time for everyone to change their usual behaviours, people may need friendly reminders, so don’t be afraid to speak out.

With schools already undergoing their gradual re-open on the East coast it will be interesting to see how this is managed here on the West coast?  We believe there is going to be an announcement coming from B.C.’s Minister of Education, Rob Fleming, tomorrow morning at 9:00am, and we continue to be optimistic that the Government of B.C. will be forthcoming with some standard practices and protocols in so far as the K-12 sector is concerned, not forgetting that many of our members often are required to play similar roles as front-line health care workers.

We all know that this is not forever, but just for now; we are still all in this together and we will get through this together; take care and enjoy the long weekend ahead!

In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive