SD42 deferred field trips and sporting events until after Dec. 14 to eliminate non-essential travel. (The News files)

SD42 deferred field trips and sporting events until after Dec. 14 to eliminate non-essential travel. (The News files)

Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school district limits travel to support provincial emergency measures

Field trips and sporting events are deferred, staff encouraged to work from home

The Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school district is eliminating non-essential travel and reducing fuel consumption by staff until Dec. 14, to help support provincial restrictions that went into effect following widespread flooding across the province.

Where possible SD42 has deferred field trips and sporting events until after Dec. 14. However, since the last day of school before the winter break is Dec. 17, quite likely many scheduled events will be postponed, where possible, until the new year, said Irena Pochop with the school district.

“With respect to sports events, we expect that BC School Sports will be providing information this week regarding provincial volleyball championships and the winter sport season,” she noted.

The district also moved in-person meetings that required travelling to an online venue, offered elementary teachers who were participating in scheduled online student reporting conferences with families the option to work from home, and encouraged district-based staff to also work from home.

Additionally the superintendent of schools, Harry Dhillon, encouraged staff and families to explore other ways of limiting travel – whether that be using public transportation, carpooling, cycling, or walking.

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SD42 first brought in restrictions until Dec. 1 but extended them after the provincial temporary emergency order limiting fuel to 30 litres per visit at gas stations was extended by the province. The province has also restricted non-essential travel along severely damaged highways.

Educational staff have been confirmed as essential service workers by the Ministry of Education.

However, in a letter addressed to staff and families on the SD42 website, Dhillon explained the Ministry also requested districts explore options to eliminate non-essential travel to support provincial fuel conservation efforts.

The Ministry provided “guiding principles” to districts as they came up with ideas– keeping students and staff safe, including those in the broader community; maintaining access to in-person instruction and educational continuity; and reducing fuel usage to the greatest extent possible.

“We appreciate all of your efforts and thank you for your ongoing support of our schools and our communities,” Dhillon’s letter read.

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