COVID-19 – Member Update for May 16, 2020

Good Afternoon Members,

Yesterday Premier Horgan and his team held a press conference that spoke specifically to the next phase for the K-12 sector here in B.C. and the message that came through loud and clear is that no one should feel pressured to either have their children return to school sites, nor should staff.  The Ministry of Education has created the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings, and we would ask members to please take the time to read and familiarize yourselves with this document over the weekend.  Your Union is looking for some clarity on a few areas of concern and we will be sending out further direction/information via email just as soon as we have the answers we are looking for.

Minister Fleming made statements yesterday indicating that remote learning will continue for those parents that want it for their students as well as for the students only attending part-time.  What this means for CUPE workers we are not sure, but clearly there will still be a need for remote support if that is the case.  The Minister further went on to state that they will have templates for Districts to follow as they are required to support all students.  It was also stated that school districts will need to make accommodations for those staff who have pre-existing conditions therefore we want any members who have concerns for their own health to please reach out to an elected Union representative to ensure proper protocols are being followed and that your rights to privacy are not being infringed upon by this Employer.

There were further updates that came from our Federal leadership as well yesterday and we wanted to applaud Dr. Theresa Tam who has done an outstanding job as our countries Chief Public Health Officer in the face of COVID-19.  Dr. Tam and her team continue to provide Canadians with accurate and up-to-date statistics as well as clear direction on what the expectations are for each and every one of us as we navigate this pandemic.

Lastly, we want to give a “Shout Out” to our Facilities Department, which includes Maintenance, Custodial and Transportation, as they have been doing an excellent job in tackling some of the challenges we are now faced with in our workplaces.  From increased cleaning schedules, to installing protective equipment on busses, and ensuring our trades and grounds crews do not travel in vehicles together if safe distancing cannot be maintained, are just a few of the examples of the measures that have been taken thus far.  However, we want to remind members from these divisions as you move from site to site to adhere to the protocols in place when entering/exiting the buildings as well as moving around inside of them.  It is imperative that you are familiar with the expectations at each location and if you have any questions that you seek out the sites Supervisor for clarity.  This is not just to protect yourselves, but to protect others in these buildings as well.

To all our members we hope that you have a safe and enjoyable long weekend.

In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive