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K-12 COVID-19 funding used to hire new staff, increase cleaning

K-12 COVID-19 funding used to hire new staff, increase cleaning

December 21, 2020 at 9:24 am  BC, News, Politics

On Aug. 26, 2020, the federal government announced up to $2 billion in support for provinces and territories through the Safe Return to Class Fund.

Every school in B.C. is following the provincial health and safety guidelines established by the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Provincial Health Officer for K-12, with input from teachers, school leaders, parents and Indigenous rightsholders. B.C. has a five-stage approach to operate schools, dependent on public health advice and the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Each school district has plans in place for each stage to ensure they are ready to make changes based on direction from their local medical health officer.

As part of the federal COVID-19 specific funding, school districts and independent schools invested in the following:

Staff and educational resources

  • Delivering education programs, including services and supplies, staff and capital costs – $45.53 million
  • Additional staff to implement safety plans – $4.48 million
  • Mental health support – $1.33 million
  • Before- and after-school child care – $410,000

Cleaning measures

  • Enhanced cleaning of schools, including staff, equipment and supplies – $14.87 million
  • Hand hygiene purchases, upgrades and supplies — $2.93 million
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) – $2.93 million
  • Ventilation and air quality improvements – $5.03 million
  • Plexiglass or other barriers and adapting school spaces – $2.08 million
  • Health and safety training – $980,000

Transportation

  • Enhanced cleaning of buses – $1.07 million;
  • Additional bus routes or reduced bus utilization – $1.91 million
  • Technology for ridership tracking and route planning – $292,604

Remote learning

  • Support for remote learning, such as technology loans or software to support students with disabilities or complex needs – $1.06 million
  • This funding also supported the purchase of 10,309 new computers, laptops or tablets.

Funding was provided to public school districts based primarily on student enrolment. School districts had until the end of the calendar year to spend their allocations.

The Province remains committed to supporting students, schools and districts during the pandemic, by ensuring school districts have stability of funding regardless of student enrolment.

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