Bulletin #43 – Ensuring application and enforcement of K-12 COVID-19 Safety Plans

On May 14, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer issued an order requiring all employers to post a copy of their Workplace COVID-19 Safety Plan at their worksite and, where applicable, on their website.

The order states that the COVID-19 Safety Plan must be “readily available for review by
workers, other persons who may attend at the workplace to provide services and members of the public.”

Joint Health & Safety Committee role and upcoming survey

A COVID-19 Safety Plan has been developed for every school. Your workplace site or district Joint Health and Safety Committee(s) has a critical role in enforcing the COVID-19 Safety Plan, preventing and investigating violence in the workplace, and keeping you safe while at work.

In order to support CUPE worker representatives in their important role on Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC), we will be circulating a provincial Health and Safety survey in January. This survey comes from the provincial joint Health & Safety Taskforce negotiated in the Provincial Framework Agreement.

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On social media:


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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Welcome to the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council site

Welcome to the CUPE BC K-12 Presidents’ Council site

The K-12 Presidents’ Council represents 57 CUPE locals in school districts across British Columbia.

CUPE represents more than 30,000 education workers including: Education Assistants, School Secretaries, Caretakers, First Nations Support Workers, IT Workers, Strong Start Facilitators, Trades and Maintenances Workers, and Bus Drivers.

We strive to protect quality public education for all.

Bulletin #41 – New coordinators assigned to K-12 sector

On behalf of the K-12 Presidents Council, I would like to welcome our new K-12 Coordinators, Jeanne Marr and Chris Losito.  Both Chris and Jeanne have been coordinators with other sectors before coming to K-12.

Jeanne, a long-time activist, was a high school clerical and was also a K-12 Pension Benefits administrator. Jeanne will support reps and locals in Metro, Fraser Valley and the North.

Chris will support Vancouver Island, the Okanagan and Kootenays. Chris worked as an Environmental Health Officer and was an activist, chief shop steward, and executive member with CUPE 15 for six years. Chris worked in K-12 as a national rep in the Trail office for two years. We look forward to working with Jeanne and Chris.

Thank you, Tracey!

I also want to give a big shout-out to Tracey Mathieson, who served as K-12 Coordinator for the past six years. I’m sure all members of the Council join me in thanking Tracey for her dedication, knowledge, professionalism, availability and strong work ethic. Tracey did an enormous amount of work on behalf of K-12 members and the Presidents Council both during bargaining and throughout this pandemic. We wish her all the best in her new role as Library Coordinator.

Ongoing Committee work

Ongoing work on provincial committees continues. We hope to have direct access to the PHO on the Provincial Steering Committee soon. This will help us get answers and raise concerns that have been brought to our attention by CUPE members in K-12 about changing guidelines. We’re all in this together, as we work to keep staff and students safe in B.C. schools.

In solidarity and safety,

Warren Williams
K-12 Presidents Council President

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