As I’m sure all Nova Scotian’s have heard, all schools have been closed minimally until April 5, 2020 in an effort to prevent the spreading and as well as the containment of the Coronavirus, known as COVID-19.
As stated prior to March Break, we, the Executive of CUPE Local 5047, will update our members as we have solid information, direction and support from CUPE National and its Representatives on an ongoing basis. CUPE has been in constant contact and conversation with the Provincial Government, and have been tirelessly advocating for our members Health and Safety while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
Directly from government we can share:
- As per Nova Scotia Public Health advisory and government established travel protocols, in an effort to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nova Scotia, effective immediately, all individuals who return from travel outside of Canada, including the United States, will be required to self-isolate upon their return for a period of 14 days. Government introduced the travel protocols on March 13, to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) *(note this is different from Friday’s announcement that provided direction to public sector employees while encouraging public sector to follow).
- All Nova Scotia public schools will be closed for 2 weeks following the March Break (March 16-20) with further assessment to follow. This is a reassurance for everyone that employees with regularly scheduled hours (so, term, probationary or permanent status employees) will be paid during this time. *The only exceptions to this would be employees who are currently or previously on extended leave unrelated to COVID-19. (Please contact non-teaching payroll if you have questions or concerns if this affects you). It is the expectation that staff who are reasonably and practically able to work from home during this period will do so. If that is not possible, employees will be placed on paid leave.
This should assure you all that all Permanent and Term CUPE members will be paid for the additional two weeks of school closures following March Break. You will not be required to report for work at your sites during that two week period.
There will be further updates coming, and we encourage all CUPE members to remember the only sources that will provide direction and offer information to members will be as follows:
- The Provincial Government of Nova Scotia
- The Halifax Regional Center for Education
- CUPE Local 5047 and its National Union and Representatives
Many questions have come forward to our Shop Stewards and Executive Members regarding the duration of closures, what next steps are being taken, will schools be cleaned and sanitized in our absence, and more. As we are updated by the Provincial Government and the HRCE, we will share any and all pertinent information. Please be patient if you are bringing any questions forward, as our Stewards and Executives will look to get concrete information before responding.
Recognizing that we are entering into the unknown while trying to navigate this this world pandemic, we would like to remind all members of the following:
- Regularly check your employer provide email accounts for updates.
- All medical benefits will continue throughout the school closures.
- Please be mindful of all precautions put in place to ensure your health and safety and to protect our most vulnerable.
- Refrain from negative Social Media posts regardless of opinions on the pandemic.
Recognizing that this will be a very trying time for many, please look to alternate methods for keeping both your body and mind healthy. As always, access to your Employer provided Employee and Family Assistance Program is available to you 24 hours a day. You can access this at http://www.workhealthlife.com or by calling 1-844-880-9142.
Again, as more information or future plans are made, we will send out anything we can via your HRCE email accounts.
On behalf of the Executive of Local 5047, be healthy and well, and Always in Solidarity,
CUPE Local 5047