Langley school district is scaling back travel due to the restrictions on fuel purchases in the wake of B.C.’s devastating floods.
Schools will be open, and buses will be operating normally, a letter released Monday, Nov. 22 by district Superintendent of Schools Gord Stewart said.
“The province is recommending that school districts work alongside their communities and reduce all non-essential travel and take measures to promote and support carpooling, public transit usage, and alternate methods of transportation,” the letter said.
There are a few changes to transportation, which includes the possible deferral of school field trips, sports, and other out-of-school extracurricular trips.
Staff who work in schools are still expected to report to work, although those who commute are being encouraged to carpool or use public transit.
Staff who are not based in a school and can work remotely are being encouraged to stay home.
Students and families are also being encouraged to walk, ride a bike, or use transit where possible to get to school.
“We want our district to operate as efficiently as possible during this provincial fuel crisis,” Stewart wrote.
He urged families that need additional support with transportation to connect with their school’s administrator.
The head of the school board said that while school buses are not under fuel restrictions, the district is trying to be prudent.
“I think we want to model, to our society, to our community, to our citizens, that we are with them,” said board chair Rod Ross.
The superintendent himself walked to work this week, Ross noted.
Schools in Langley have been open throughout the rain and flooding crisis, although Ross noted that there have been other weather-related disruptions in the past year, including closures linked to the heat dome.
School facilities remained high and dry. Ross noted that Fort Langley’s schools, including Langley Fine Arts and Fort Langley Elementary, could see closures in a future flood if road access to the Fort village is ever cut off. Several roads in and out of the Fort were closed for portions of Monday and Tuesday, but Township staff said 96th Avenue remained open continuously.
The provincial government announced emergency restrictions on fuel purchases on the weekend, with a limit of 30 litres per visit to a gas station for private vehicles. Non-essential travel also remains restricted on the few highways in and out of the Lower Mainland that have reopened since last week’s flooding cut road links to the rest of B.C.
School buses are not restricted from filling up with more than 30 litres of fuel, as they are on a list of essential vehicles that includes public transit buses, grocery delivery vehicles, garbage trucks, and agricultural vehicles.
The flooding caused the Trans Mountain pipeline to be shut down for safety reasons, although it’s expected to resume pumping oil and refined gas products to B.C. from Alberta by the end of the week. Crews were hiking into remote areas or being dropped by helicopter to assess the pipeline and make sure there was no damage.
The provincial government has also been working to bring in more fuel supplies by barge from the United States.
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