VSB COVID-19 Update September 14, 2020

Monday, September 14, 2020

We wish to take this opportunity to welcome everyone back and update you on several issues we have been working on with the employer both currently and over the summer. 


Since our last bulletin we are pleased to report that Plexiglas has been provided in schools where social distancing is a challenge. 


We are also extremely pleased that the government has agreed to supply masks in schools and that the VSB Trustees extended the requirement that elementary students should wear masks while in the classroom and not just in the hallways.


While the employer is not providing the same level of accommodation this school year as they did in the spring, we have been working with them on a case by case basis to try and find accommodations where possible and there are some outstanding grievances from the spring that are working their way through the system.


We have also been working with the employer on finalizing the work requirements for our on call members and the number of schools they can be dispatched to. Our emphasis is “less is more”, meaning less schools means more safety for all involved. 


Thank you to those SSAs who have reached out to us with concerns regarding VLN. We have raised the concern with the employer and we think there may be some confusion regarding the difference between VLN work, and the work that will be required for students participating in the Option 4 return to school.


VLN is year round remote learning for students, whereby the Option 4 is just something specially designed during COVID-19 to address a gradual return to class for students.


As many of you know, Option 4 was provided to parents and students who chose a gradual return to school as opposed to a full return in September. Those students will be returning to in class learning through three entry points between now and December. In the interim there could be an expectation that they would require assistance from our SSAs but we are continuing to have discussions around these issues with the employer and as soon as we have something definitive to share, we will inform you.


Please remind your colleagues to provide the union with their personal email addresses as we are not permitted to send any union business or bulletins via VSB email addresses.


In addition, we encourage members to visit  https://bcschools.cupe.ca for up to date health and safety and WorkSafe information. This website is updated regularly with information directly from the education stakeholder steering committee.


Please remember, unlike the teachers, CUPE Local 15 does have mandatory quarantine language in our collective agreement for permanent employees. So if for some reason you may have to go into quarantine, you will continue to be paid during that time.


If Vancouver Coastal Health reaches out to you as they may have deemed you as being at risk of contact, then you would be covered under the quarantine language. We encourage anyone who feels they need to be tested to do so, for you and your family’s peace of mind.


We know this is a very challenging and scary time for many, and we really want to encourage everyone to try and find some time for some self-care. The EFAP program has ways that they may be of assistance to help you through this, and we hope you will take advantage of it (http://www.cupe15.org/workplace-content/3739/657).


We will continue to keep you posted as things progress, and we look forward to hearing from you with any questions or concerns you may have.


In solidarity,


Warren Williams, President
Debbie Mohabir, Secretary-Treasurer
Cynthia Schadt, Interim Chief Shop Steward
Kathie Currie, Staff Representative