K-12 Restart: A Letter to Members

Hello everybody,

I understand that the restart announcement came as quite a surprise to members. CUPE, along with other stakeholders, have been involved by providing input on the plan. The consultation involved all K-12 education stakeholders throughout the development process, and CUPE’s concerns helped shape the plan that went forward. Unions have equal representation on the steering committee that is working on the September K-12 restart plan.

We know that members are nervous and fearful; we are in a pandemic—something we’ve never seen before. The restart plan allows for cohorts or learning groups of a maximum of 60 in elementary and middle schools and 120 in secondary schools. These numbers reflect the scientific and public health evidence that has led B.C. to be recognized as a leader in pandemic management and transmission control.

CUPE puts the health and safety of our members first, as well as the safety of students and staff, families and the public. The September restart plan recognizes the importance of education for children and also for our members’ livelihoods. Many of B.C.’s most vulnerable kids remained in schools throughout April, May and June, thanks to our dedicated EAs and support staff who were able to make those environments safe and productive. While there were challenges experienced, those challenges were overcome and informed the development of the plan announced this week.

The design of the school day, learning group system, and overall return plan was developed with the advice and guidance of the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. It has been her guidance and leadership that has made B.C. a leading jurisdiction in North America in terms of managing the pandemic, keeping transmissions low, and maintaining key services.

In terms of what CUPE and the K-12 Presidents Council have been seeking, there are several elements of the plan that are the direct result of CUPE’s advocacy, including funding for increased daytime cleaning, and the provision of masks to anyone who requests them.

The return to school plan is just that, a plan. It will be adjusted and changed based on experience and new information as it rolls out, as well as on how the pandemic evolves. As we discuss implementation over the next few weeks, our focus will remain on keeping the environment safe for all members who work directly with kids in schools, along with other CUPE members whose valuable work is key to the public school system.

CUPE and the K-12 Presidents Council ‘s advocacy continues each and every day as the plan evolves and is being implemented.

In safety and solidarity,

Warren Williams
K-12 Presidents Council President

View letter here.

PHO updates K-12 Restart: kids back in class this September

Message from K-12 Presidents Council President Warren Williams

B.C.’s response to COVID-19 under the guidance of Dr. Bonnie Henry, has led to the best outcomes in North America. By all doing our part and following the science-based direction of the Provincial Health Officer, B.C. has achieved a low community transmission rate.

Minister of Education Rob Fleming announced today that the stages for K-12’s restart have been updated based on direction from the Provincial Health Officer and her team.

Stage 2 has been revised to allow for all students to go back to class in September by creating learning groups or cohorts with a limited number of students. The Ministry announced today that elementary and middle schools will limit learning groups to 60, while high schools will be limited to 120.

To support the return to school, comprehensive COVID-19 safety measures will be put in place in all districts to help protect students and staff.

These include enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, extra hand washing and sanitizing stations, signs to direct traffic flow, additional custodians for daytime cleaning, and physical barriers where needed. Staff will have access to masks that will be provided by the government to districts.

We are holding a virtual K-12 Presidents Council meeting on August 4 at 3 p.m. to review the B.C. K-12 Restart plan.

We are also putting together Frequently Asked Questions that we will post on the BC Schools web site by the end of this week. We’ll update this when questions come up as things evolve.

In safety and solidarity,

Warren Williams
K-12 Presidents Council President

View PDF – Bulletin #15

The Study that Caught Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Attention

Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, recently cited a reassuring study out of the Netherlands that explains that the virus is mainly spread between adults, with the spread of COVID-19 among children or from children to adults being less common.

“For young children in particular, they don’t seem to be as affected by it. They don’t seem to have as severe illnesses, and they don’t seem to pass it on to adults as effectively,” said Dr. Henry.

To read the full report by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment please see here.

View PDF.

The above information was sent to education stakeholders by the Ministry of Education.

SOURCE: Ministry of Education email sent to stakeholder groups.

 

 

 

K-12 Bulletin #14

Message from K-12 Presidents Council President Warren Williams

B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming said on Wednesday that a detailed plan of the September restart will be released in the coming weeks, but that parents of kindergarten to Grade 7 students “should prepare for a full restart.”

As a stakeholder to the Restart Steering Committee initiated by government, we are meeting regularly throughout the summer months.

Could you let us know your experiences or concerns during COVID. Please encourage members to check their email and complete the COVID survey.

In solidarity and safety,

Warren Williams
K-12 Presidents Council President

View the bulletin.

Find more info about the plans for K-12 restart here.

THANK YOU

A big thank you to CUPE K-12 members for supporting children of essential services workers and vulnerable children in B.C. schools during these challenging times. Custodians, clerical, education assistants, bus drivers, IT, and many members who were redeployed provided supports to students and their families. Members collected, sorted, and distributed food to families in their communities. They delivered learning packages to students and helped where they were needed so that voluntary in-class instruction could be offered to families starting in June.

The hard work, attention to detail, and care for students that members bring to their jobs, is appreciated and valued.

On behalf of the K-12 Presidents Council I want to also thank the business agents, CUPE National reps, and specialist reps who support the work of our locals every day.

Don’t forget to check out the K-12 Presidents Council video thanking members for all their work during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Have a safe summer and enjoy your time with family and friends.

In solidarity and safety,

Warren Williams
K-12 Presidents Council President

View PDF.

K-12 Bulletin #12

Message from K-12 Presidents Council President Warren Williams

The last few months have been stressful and we all need a break. As we near the end of the school year in a few weeks, I hope everyone is able to pause and spend some time relaxing with family and friends. We will continue to share information as we find things out.

In solidarity and safety,

Warren Williams
K-12 Presidents Council President

View the bulletin.

K-12 Bulletin #11: Meet members at work during the COVID-19 pandemic

Message from K-12 Presidents Council President Warren Williams

I want to thank all members for their hard work and continued support for B.C. students. There are many questions about September and each district will function a little differently. We will continue to update you as we get more information.

In solidarity and safety,
Warren Williams
K-12 Presidents Council President

View the bulletin.

 

K-12 Bulletin #10

Message from K-12 Presidents Council President Warren Williams

I’d like to thank everyone for their role in B.C.’s K-12 restart this week. All schools were open on June 1 and 60,000 students attended.

For the most part, things went well with the re-opening of in-class instruction this week.

Some districts are still having issues around PPEs.

All sites should have their joint Health and Safety Committees up and running. This is our first line to address safety concerns if your district is not following the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer.

Contact your local if you need help to address your issues. This is our opportunity to see how we are able to work together in the ‘new normal’ and be ready for September.

During this month all classes have limited capacity with alternating schedules. Children of essential service workers and students who need additional support will continue to be able to access full-time classroom instruction.

Thanks to everyone who sent in member pics. Stay tuned for the video coming soon.

In solidarity and safety,

Warren Williams
K-12 Presidents Council President

View the bulletin.

COVID-19: Going Forward

Age Structured Modelling (Self-isolation)

Age Structured Modelling (Susceptibility of children)