News & Events

Pier fire affecting air quality and some schools

Dear parents and students,

As you may know, today’s more generalized air quality concerns have been compounded in New Westminster by the fire at the pier park.

After this morning’s assessment of how each site was being impacted, we suspended classes at Qayqayt Elementary, Queen Elizabeth Elementary, Queensborough Middle School and at the location shared by the Royal City Alternate Program (RCAP) and POWER.

We have continued to monitor the situation throughout the day and have adjusted as needed.

Early dismissals have now been enacted at Fraser River Middle School, New Westminster Secondary School and École Glenbrook Middle, with classes suspended for the day.

We have encouraged any student – from one of the named and affected schools – who can safety stay or return home to do so. We know that’s not possible in all situations, so we also have staff at the schools to supervise any students who cannot commute home safely. The integrity of learning cohorts will be maintained.

If your student goes to one of the schools that is still open, and you would like to take your child home, you are free to do so. If that is your intent, please call the office of your local school when you arrive and they help collect your child from the class to bring them out front (unfortunately we cannot invite parents into the school right now as part of our new COVID safety measures).

At each of our District’s schools, as per the advice from our local Medical Health Officer that was in relation to the more general air quality advisory, we have been:

  • Keeping windows and doors shut, and utilizing filtered ventilation systems
  • Monitoring staff and students with known health conditions (like asthma) who might be more sensitive
  • Rescheduling or restricting unnecessary physical activity (like PE)
  • At a District level, as of midday, we required all students remain inside for the remainder of the day

At this point we’re anticipating this will only affect today’s classes, as the firefighters are getting a better handle on the Westminster Pier Park fire. Though we will notify you if there are any changes that might affect tomorrow’s classes as well.

-The New Westminster Schools team