School field trips and extracurricular activities in the North Island school district (SD85) are temporarily halted, as the district looks to reduce fuel consumption.

On Friday (Nov. 19), the Province of B.C. issued an order to ration gasoline given storm-related supply problems.

It’s in effect until Dec. 1, with non-essential travellers in the southwestern part of the province, including Vancouver Island, now limited to 30-litres of fuel per visit to gas stations.

The order also applies to school districts. And while deemed essential, the Ministry of Education has asked certain districts, like SD85, to avoid non-essential travel altogether.

“The school district has put all field trips and sports trips on hold for the duration of the Provincial Orders and has allowed a few employees to work remotely for this week,” Superintendent Christina MacDonald tells My Triport Now.

However, school buses are exempt from the fuel restriction, meaning bus service to and from school is continuing as normal.

Vaccine Mandate:

Meanwhile, a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for School District 85 staff is still up in the air.

“It will be up to the Board to determine when this decision will be made,” MacDonald explains.

Earlier this month, School District 72 in Campbell River decided against mandating vaccines for its staff.

SD72 said it was assured by Public Health that local schools continue to be low-risk settings, with 100 per cent vaccination rates not necessary for safe operation. 

“While we are not mandating staff vaccination at this time, our board continues to encourage all who are eligible to get vaccinated and supports Island Health’s vaccination efforts,” it added.