Bulletin #42 – COVID-19 school closures, exposures, isolation and quarantine

CUPE is aware of school districts requiring our members to take sick time or unpaid time during periods of COVID-19 school closures and when required to isolate or quarantine due to possible exposure.

This is not okay.

In any of these circumstances, CUPE supports our members continuing to receive their full compensation. Casual/spareboard employees should continue to receive pay and benefits based on an average of earnings over the preceding weeks.

Employers consistently say that sick time is only to be used in cases of illness or injury, so for school districts to require the misuse of sick time (either paid or unpaid) now, is totally unacceptable.

Please notify your CUPE local and National Representative if your district fails to provide wage and benefit continuity in these circumstances.

Your K-12 Coordinators have already communicated our expectations to the Ministry of Education. We will continue to do so, and will identify problem school districts, so that we can stop this short-sighted practice.
This is a matter of public health. If needed, we will make the case to public health, BCPSEA and the Ministry that immediate intervention is required.

Exposure and illness

If a member is sick, the time that the member is absent should be coded as sick leave, with the following exceptions:

  1. i) In the event of an exposure to COVID-19 at work, the member should submit a Form 6 to WorkSafeBC and report the exposure to their workplace Joint Health and Safety Committee.
  2. ii) If a member tests positive for COVID-19 they should submit a WorkSafeBC claim regardless of reported
    exposure in their workplace.

We want public health to give early notification of exposures at schools in all health regions and the First Nations Health Authority—similar to what Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health are now doing—and are working towards that end.


The following information is from the Deputy Minister of Health update bulletin on New Provincial COVID-19 Restrictions for K-12 (December 4).

Have any changes been made to daily health check requirements?

  • employers are required to take an ‘active’ position on ensuring health checks are completed versus a ‘passive’ position such as displaying a poster

Does the new provincial order requiring face coverings in indoor public spaces apply to K-12 schools

  • directed to public spaces rather than workplaces and does not specifically reference schools

* new order applies to public spaces (indoor common areas) within office buildings, including board, Distributed Learning (DL) and school/district offices

Is physical distancing required while wearing masks?

  • Yes. Masks are not a substitute for physical distancing.
  • No social gatherings/congregating of employees allowed in any areas

We are working on a COVID-19 Safety Plan bulletin — coming to you early next week.

Links with latest information from PHO, WorkSafeBC and health regions are now on our home page above the news section.

On social media: @cupek12bc

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