Carpets in most elementary school classrooms in School District 61 will once again get vacuumed daily. This change comes after Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association filed a grievance over carpet cleaning cutbacks implemented in October. Custodians were told at that time to cut back on vacuuming area rugs in elementary school classrooms to twice a week for Kindergarten (K) and Grade 1, and to stop completely for Grade 2 to 5. Custodians reported the change to teachers, who then expressed health and safety concerns to the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association (GVTA).
Upon notice of the grievance, the district committed to doing a review to find out exactly how many rugs are in use, how often they had been getting cleaned in each school, and what the requirements are for the educational program based on the curriculum for each grade.
After doing the review, the district determined that it would be appropriate to increase its level of services in elementary schools. The increase includes the daily vacuuming of K to Grade 3 rugs, as well as the carpets in the library, inclusive learning spaces, music rooms, and Strong Start classrooms. Classrooms and spaces that still have wall-to-wall carpets will be vacuumed on a regular basis until this type of flooring is replaced with hard surface flooring by the district. There are 392 area rugs in K to Grade 3, totalling 31, 312 square feet of carpet, according to the district.
In a recent letter to staff, David Loveridge, Director of Facilities Services for School District 61, acknowledged the efforts of Luv-A-Rug who cleaned 400 rugs for the district for free in response to the cutbacks in October.
New vacuums have been distributed to the schools and the daily vacuuming will begin Monday, Jan. 15.