FILE – A empty classroom is pictured at McGee Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

The union representing B.C. teachers has filed an application, asking the Labour Relations Board to look into concerns raised about working conditions in classrooms.

In a message to teachers, BC Teachers’ Federation president Teri Mooring said the application was filed Thursday (Sept. 17).

The application relates to section 88 of the Labour Relations Code, which pertains to in-differences within a collective agreement between employers – in this case the B.C. government – and the employees.

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close. Each school district was tasked to create safety guidelines in late August – with general direction from the province – for how it would combat COVID-19 transmission among students and staff.

This includes mask-use policies in hallways and busy areas, physical distancing between desks and other guidelines, slightly varying between each school district.

But since students headed back to class last week, teachers across the province have been voicing their growing concerns about inconsistencies and inadequate implementation of the safety measures.

Mooring said during a news conference Friday that she has heard some schools are rationing masks or not enforcing wearing masks alltogether.

“For a classroom teacher, if my room isn’t cleaned or my administrator won’t give me a shield it doesn’t rise to the level of WorkSafe’s definition of unsafe work.”

Mooring has also said that teachers are “feeling pressured to work in unsafe conditions and are demanding significant changes to ensure they and their students are protected.”

In a seperate news conference, Education Minister Rob Fleming did not directly refute the union’s claims, but downplayed the severity of any concerns.

“In the constant communication I have with people who work in the school system … what you’re seeing around the province is an incredible amount of teamwork and the focus is on the huge task that’s been accomplished,” he said.

He told reporters that the B.C. government has “always anticipated that there would be tweaks and fixes required,” noting B.C. has fared better than other provinces on its return-to-school rollout.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC politicsCoronavirusEducation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Katrine Conroy has won for the fifth time in the Kootenay West riding. Photo: Submitted
Katrine Conroy ready to tackle challenges after election

Conroy won the Kootenay West riding for the fifth time

Students at Stanley Humphries will be staging Nightmare on Seventh. L-R Emily Conley and Claire Cartwright are all dressed up and ready to go. Photo: Jennifer Small
Zombie apocalypse coming to Castlegar

High school students staging scary food drive

A view of the Burton Flats area. Photo: Submitted
Work progresses on man-made wetland near Burton

The project is already seeing modest results

Katrine Conroy
Katrine Conroy declared winner in Kootenay West

Preliminary results put NDP candidate firmly in the lead.

There are few details but neighbours a Second Avenue house in Chilliwack say a huge police presence descended on the home after shots were heard. (File photo)
RCMP looking for witnesses in $5000 auto part theft

Two catalytic converters valued around $5000 were taken Oct. 22

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health sees 31 new cases of COVID-19 over record-breaking weekend

Eighty-six cases remain active and one person is hospitalized with the virus

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Most Read