The COVID-19 situation continues to change rapidly and we are all working to respond effectively and quickly, not only in terms of public health, but also to best support our members and provide information on actions being taken by the B.C. government and school districts.
Each district is developing their own plan for continuity of learning and a safety plan to keep students and staff safe.
As we get more information over the coming days, we will post it on our K-12 web site bcschools.cupe.ca. Please check this site regularly for the latest information.
As many of us are working under unusual circumstances and not seeing colleagues every day, it becomes even more important that we stay connected. Be kind to yourself and to each other.
We all must continue to follow the orders of B.C. Health Officer Bonnie Henry.
Warren Williams, K-12 Presidents Council President
What can I expect when I go back to work next week?
The K-12 Presidents Council had a Webinar with presidents Wednesday night (March 25) and we heard from three districts that returned to work this week. They reported that district safety plans are in place with different approaches taken in terms of staff return. One district is staggering start times and redeploying staff, one district is considering this first week a planning week and is working closely with their CUPE local. A third district surveyed members collaboratively with the local to learn what concerns they had and if they had the necessary resources to work from home. Check with your district as there are many other various scenarios out there.
What type of safety procedures are in place to keep support staff safe?
The Ministry of Education and the provincial government, working with the Provincial Health Officer, have advised school districts to develop procedures to ensure schools continue to follow the highest standard of cleaning practices; promote and support physical distancing; and control access to buildings to limit exposure. If you haven’t received information from your school district, please contact your Local.
Will I get the $2000 per month from the federal government?
The Canada Revenue Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) of $2000 per month for up to four months is available for workers who need support because they are facing unemployment. These funds are not available for employees who are getting paid.
The Premier has assured K-12 workers that if they were normally returning to work following spring break they will get paid (with the exception of on-call and auxiliary workers).
Can I refuse to go back to work because it’s unsafe?
Please see this FAQ on COVID-19 and the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work in B.C. Please note that this is general information and there are some exceptions to the regulations. The Provincial Health officer is working on a safety plan for child care and has directed safety plans for K-12 schools.
What will happen to my benefits?
As per the March 20 letter from the Public Sector Employers’ Council Secretariat (PSEC), the continuation of wages and benefits for our members in K-12 will continue until the end of April and will be reviewed before that date is reached.