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

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution, could be in U.S.

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

web
Mission’s first cannabis store to open doors next week

Government-run BC Cannabis Store to open Nov. 4 at 31956 Lougheed Highway

The City of Chilliwack says there’s too much spitting going on at the Sardis Sports Complex. (City of Chilliwack photo)
Too much spitting a problem at Chilliwack’s Sardis Sports Complex

The City of Chilliwack is asking the minor hockey community to ease up on expectorating

Record-low returns of salmon have been recorded on the Fraser River in recent years. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
Time for Indigenous-led salmon strategy on the Lower Fraser, says Alliance

‘Closures of First Nations, commercial and recreational salmon fishing’ have huge impact: LFFA

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. (File photo)
This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Maestro Otto Tausk. (Photo: vancouversymphony.ca)
50/50 lotto players buck up for Metro Vancouver musicians hit hard by COVID

‘Rapidly growing jackpot’ for VSO’s 50/50 draw as they go online with TheConcertHall.ca

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

Most Read