We wish to update you with the current information we have from the employer regarding the January return to school plan.

All CUPE Local 15 VSB members are to report for work on Tuesday, January 4th as you have all been deemed essential service employees. As a result of that designation, you will be permitted to have your own children attend school along with other essential service worker employee’s children.

Through this phase of the pandemic, SFE will not dispatch employees at this time as that will be organized by the family of schools’ directors in consultation with each school’s principal, and will be looked at on an as needed basis. That could mean that some employees will be moved to other schools depending on what the student attendance is like and staff availability. However, SFE will be available for members required to report an illness.

Any child who arrives at school will NOT be turned away, whether they are essential service, special needs, or otherwise. Before and after school programs will run for the entire day, this too is only for the duration of this phase of the pandemic. The return to school on January 4th will also provide members and the employer time to work on establishing the protocol requirements for their schools.

Should any member require an accommodation they will be required to provide medical information that will be needed in order to establish whether an accommodation is available or not. Medical accommodations are a tripartite process which does require an employee to provide medical information for the type of accommodation they are seeking, whether it is for themselves or a family member. Accommodations are not considered a breach of an individual’s privacy rights, and there is an understanding that an employee seeking an accommodation will participate in the process of disclosing the required information.

This is once again a very fluid situation and everyone is working together to try and find the safest and most efficient way to protect you and your students in the workplace. There is an expectation that all staff will participate in protecting each other by wearing their masks and respecting social distancing guidelines. There is a mask mandate for the Vancouver School Board and we ask that all staff comply with that policy when they are able to out of respect for their colleagues.

It is our intention to follow up with the employer regarding a cohort system when we have a clearer picture of what the student attendance numbers will be after the first week of school. Should you have any questions please follow up with your administrator and let the union know of any concerns you may have that are not being addressed.

We will continue to monitor the situation in conjunction with the Public Health Officer (PHO) and the Ministry of Education, and will be keeping you updated of any changes as they develop.

If you know of someone who is not receiving our bulletins, please suggest they contact the union office and provide us with their personal email address as we are not permitted to communicate with you through the employer’s email system.

Please feel free to contact your shop steward or the union office at any time should you have any questions or concerns by calling 604-879-4671 or emailing:

In solidarity,

Warren Williams