Although we've shared in previous correspondence that educational employees are not deemed to be essential services, custodial and maintenance staff are a priority for continued "on-location" work due to requirements for electrical and mechanical systems.
It is the Louis Riel School Division's (LRSD) expectation that custodial and maintenance staff will be available for work during the suspension of classes occurring March 23 to April 9. There is an abundance of meaningful work for our maintenance and custodial department during the current and evolving health emergency. In the event that meaningful work is no longer available, staff will be allowed to stay home with pay but will still be asked to maintain communication with their supervisors.
Beginning Monday, March 23, all schools will remain open to staff but will be closed to the general public. However, some LRSD families may make appointments to visit the school to access the Internet or to pick up materials. These appointments will be scheduled to ensure they do not negatively impact social distancing protocols. During this pandemic, schools continue to be important community hubs for all of us, especially our most vulnerable families.
Given the small number of students who attended school the week of March 16, we are confident the risk to our staff members who report for duty on Monday, March 23, is very low. Also:
- To date, the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer has stated that no student in Manitoba has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- The government continues to classify schools as low risk buildings
- COVID-19 has a limited lifespan on surfaces
- School sites will have a limited number of divisional employees reporting for work allowing ample social distancing to occur
- Custodial staff will continue to be provided appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
Our goal is to have all divisional sites thoroughly cleaned during the suspension of classes and our custodial and maintenance staff play a critical role in helping us ensure our schools remain a safe place for everyone.
Out of an abundance of caution, custodial and maintenance staff who have personal health concerns related to their immune system may elect to stay at home Monday and Tuesday to ensure the virus is no longer surface transmissible in schools. In this instance, staff will fill out the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Employee Incident Report Form. Please note:
Custodial and maintenance staff will report any absences to their respective Monterey supervisor. In the event that all custodial staff from a specific school are absent, the Facilities Department will ensure that the building is opened for LRSD staff members and will reassign custodial and/or maintenance staff to that building to provide custodial services.
The current suspension of classes is in effect until April 9, with all custodial and maintenance staff returning to their regular work schedules and assignments on Monday, April 13, unless otherwise directed by the Province.
I thank you for your continued patience and understanding during these trying times. Stay safe and be well.
Christian Michalik, Superintendent