Status of K-12 Education Update for VSB Members

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The following is an update from the press conference held by Education Minister Rob Fleming regarding the status of K-12 Education in BC on April 28th.

Minister Fleming announced that the Ministry of Education, under the direction of Premier Horgan, Provincial Health, and the Provincial Cabinet have begun working on controlled, evidence based plans, developed by each individual school district, to eventually open up classrooms. In addition, Minister Fleming informed people that the BC Centre for Disease Control along with the Provincial Health Officer are providing the advice, and their guidelines are updated frequently. Those plans will focus on controlled in-class learning, with a major emphasis on health and safety protocols being first and foremost!

Minister Fleming emphasized that all decisions were being made with advice from the Provincial Health Officer for the health and safety of both students and our members. The Minister did not provide a specific date for opening as they are relying upon the individual school districts to develop their own plans that are compliant with the health & safety guidelines and take into consideration direction from the Provincial Health Officer. Minister Fleming also stated that they are looking at what other jurisdictions are doing with regard to reopening of schools. New Zealand was given as an example of proceeding under science based controlled guidelines.

Your union received word on April 27th that this was a possibility of happening and quickly reached out to the employer to initiate discussions on our members’ behalf. The employer stated they were awaiting further direction from BCPSEA and would be back in touch with us following their update.

We are preparing our list of issues we feel need to be addressed based on the areas of concern expressed by our members as well as areas we feel are important for your job and financial security as well as health and safety.

Once again, we are all navigating through some very challenging and uncharted areas in our history, but we are confident we will get there!

While we are sympathetic that this may not answer all of your questions, we will endeavour to keep you posted as things progress. You all deserve to be so proud of the work you have done, whether it is providing office support in your schools or childcare for essential service workers tier 1 & 2, to home visits with our vulnerable students and the new and evolving virtual learning. Stand Up and be Proud of the work you are doing, you and your families all deserve special recognition for the sacrifices you have made!

Please remember to check our website for regular updates as we may not have your current contact information.

We suggest following up with the union’s main office 604-879-4671 if you need to update your contact information.

Thank you again for your commitment to all students and learning!

In solidarity,

Warren Williams, President
Debbie Mohabir, Chief Shop Steward
Kathie Currie, Staff Representative