Shortreed Community Elementary. (Langley School District/Special to the Aldergrove Star)

Shortreed Community Elementary. (Langley School District/Special to the Aldergrove Star)

Shortreed teachers stage sit-in to defy orders deemed ‘not COVID safe’

After power was knocked out in Aldergrove on Wednesday, teachers refused to work from another school

Fifteen teachers at Shortreed Community School in Aldergrove staged a sit-in strike on Wednesday, in protest of an order from the school district after power went out.

A windstorm shut off the lights at six schools in Langley – including Shortreed – prompting the Langley School District to send students home for the day.

The district’s policy is to have teachers re-deploy to another school and work from there, but many felt that directive was unsafe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Tanya Kerr, president of the Langley Teacher’s Association, told the Aldergrove Star that teachers felt working from another school would break COVID-19 restrictions and put employees and students more at risk.

“We had a similar situation this fall when the power went out and teachers did not want to go to another school. The district said they would take it into consideration,” Kerr noted.

When the district refused to let Shortreed staff work from home, teachers stayed at the school in protest.

“I haven’t heard they will be disciplined,” Kerr said, noting the next step is to troubleshoot with the Labour Relations Board on the matter. “We are waiting on action from the district right now. The hope, for sure, is to change the policy.”

Cashmere Roder, vice-president of the school’s parent advisory council, said she is surprised that the policy hasn’t changed.

“With all of the different policies and protocols that have changed over the last nine months because of COVID, it’s surprising that this was not one they would look into right away,” Roder said.

Roder said she saw teachers sitting out front of Parkside Elementary in Aldergrove on Wednesday, adding that she figured they must have been directed to work from that school but chose not to enter.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “Teachers have bent over backwards to work from home and have proven they are more than capable of doing so. They have a plan, they are ready, so why not let them do that? It’s like the district is treating the teachers like children.”

READ MORE: Chilliwack trustee causes stir online after sleeping, smoking during Zoom meeting

“Teachers are exhausted and this was the breaking point,” Kerr said. “They are not defiant. This is their job and they deemed that it was safer to work in a building with no power than to be transferred to a different school.”

Langley School District released a statement on Wednesday, noting that teachers and staff at sites that did not have power resume at the start of the day were redeployed to other District sites.

“Due to health and safety, it is standard District practice for teachers and staff to work at other sites that are operational when a school is closed due to power outages or other unforeseen events. All of our sites have strict COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place including measures for any staff working temporarily in the building whether they are from another school or the District office,” the statement read.

________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@aldergrovestar.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

AldergroveLangley School DistrictLangley Township

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

Just Posted

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
Harrison woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Fraser Canyon Hospital, located at 1275 7th Avenue in Hope, is one of two local COVID-19 vaccination sites. Seniors over the age of 90 and First Nations elders and seniors are the first people eligible for vaccines; booking began on Monday, March 8, and administration begins on March 15. (Photo/Adam Louis)
ICYMI: Vaccine booking in Hope has begun

Seniors aged 90 and up, First Nations elders to be vaccinated next week

Once again Fraser East is among the health service delivery areas with the highest rate of COVID-19 transmission in the province. (Datawrapper)
Fraser East sees third highest rate of COVID-19 cases in B.C.

The region is seeing a sustained increase in new COVID-19 cases

Once a star player with the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team, Kayli Sartori is moving into a new role coaching the next generation of Cascades. (UFV photo)
Chilliwack’s Kayli Sartori goes from court to coach with UFV basketball Cascades

Sartori is taking a new path as part of the U-Sports female basketball apprentice coaching program

The Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Some of the hundreds of pounds of trash removed by divers last month from Abbotsford’s Walmsley Lake.(Henry Wang photo)
VIDEO: Divers remove 462 pounds of trash from Abbotsford lake

Walmsley Lake dive uncovers several tires, hundreds of drink containers and a tent

Trent Miner is returning to the Vancouver Giants, the team announced. He has been released by the Colorado Eagles of the AHL.(Rik Fedyck/Vancouver Giants)
Trent Miner returns to play goal for Vancouver Giants

Netminder was part of epic 11-game winning-streak by Langley-based team

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complains about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Most Read