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School sports, trips on hold through end of month due to fuel issues

The province brought in order restricting fuel sales because of supply uncertainty
Vanier recently hosted a regional volleyball tourney, but the school district has curtailed travelling for sports and other events through the end of November due to fuel rationing brought on by flooding in the province. Photo by Mike Chouinard

While Vanier hosted Island regionals for volleyball recently, the school district has put the brakes on travelling for games through the end of November.

At the most recent school board meeting, superintendent Tom Demeo said the district was sending out a letter to families to explain that in light of recent fuel caps through a provincial state of emergency order on fuel purchases following recent flooding and supply chain issues in the province, School District 71 was keeping students close to home.

He also made a general comment about safety and school operations.

“We want to keep our students safe, and we want to keep our buildings open,” he said.

RELATED STORY: B.C. orders ration on gas in southwest

Demeo said games would be postponed through the end of November, as part of an overall plan to reduce traffic on the roads. Other in-person events were being postponed as well.

Another measure the district is taking is postponing field trips except those accessible by public transit or by walking.

The school is also trying to send a message about driving in the short term.

“We’re encouraging everyone, our community, our families, to carpool and utilize public transit where they can,” Demeo said. “We’re encouraging our students to engage in active travel.”

In-school activities, however, will continue, he said, but the goal is to reduce fuel needs for the short term in light of uncertain supplies.

“If we can all do our part, it supports our colleagues in those areas that were devastated,” he said. “We can all get through this together.”

Later in the meeting, board members asked whether there were actions the school district can take to help some of the hardest-hit areas of the province.

Demeo responded that students in those areas have been moved to adjacent areas, while secretary-treasurer Brenda Hooker said she has contacted colleagues in the affected districts to see if there were ways to help.

Following heavy rains and flooding that closed highway routes in mid-November, the provincial government brought in travel restrictions and a limit for fuel purchases in southwest B.C., Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast to 30 litres per visit. The order is ongoing through Dec. 1.

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