A physically distanced classroom is seen at Kensington Community School amidst the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio

$242M in federal back-to-school funding to be divvied up by districts based on enrolment

Funds to be used to buy more personal protective equipment, increase capacity for remote learning

The B.C. government has announced just how much of the federal government’s previously announced funding for classrooms will be coming to the province – and exactly what school districts will be able to spend it on.

Roughly $242.4 million in one-time funding has been earmarked for B.C.’s school reopening plan, with half to arrive in September and the rest in January. That is in addition to the $44.6 million in provncial funding announced earlier this summer.

“Our province is taking the best, science-based public health advice and planning to have as many children as possible back in classrooms this fall, which is why we have been talking with the federal government about the need for more resources for our schools,” Education Minister Rob Fleming said in a statement Thursday (Sept. 3).

“We are appreciative of this additional support to provide more resources to districts and independent school authorities, so they can continue providing ongoing learning opportunities in a safe way.”

Fleming said the funds will be allocated to school districts based on enrolment numbers.

Of the first $121 million, $101.1 million to school districts, $8 million to independent schools and reserving $12.1 million for emerging COVID-19 related issues between September and December.

School districts will determine how to use the money it receives, to expand health and safety measures, purchase more personal protective equipment and increase capacity for remote learning.

This includes hiring and training more teachers and support staff for remote learning, purchasing additional software licences, electronic course materials and textbooks, as well as increasing internet access in remote and Indigenous communities.

On Aug. 26, Fleming directed school districts and independent schools to contact all families in their catchments to confirm if they planned for their child to attend school classes in September or if they would need remote learning options.

Over the past week, the ministry said that school officials have reported that the majority of students are returning to full-time, in-class instruction. However, some families are looking for remote options or transition programs.

Horgan says back-to-school plan could change once kids are in classroom again

Earlier Thursday, Premier John Horgan told reporters that the province is prepared to change its back-to-school plan as it works to address safety issues raised by teachers and staff.

It’s not about “here is the plan, we are sticking with it,” Horgan said.

“Here is the start and we will amend the plan as we need to in order to address safety and provide a quality education for our kids.”

The BC Teachers’ Federation has been vocal in recent weeks over concerns of physical distancing in classrooms amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The union has been calling for more remote learning options in order to reduce class sizes to curb transmission rates.

Horgan, Fleming and federation president Teri Mooring met Wednesday, Horgan said.

More to come.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusEducation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 20 is closed from the top Avalanche gate to the bottom Avalanche gate as of 19:30 on Tuesday October 27, 2020 (WL Tribune photo)
Rockslide closes the Hill as rain pours down in Bella Coola

Bad weather has resulted in rockfall on the Hill on Highway 20

The River Forecast Centre is issuing a Flood Watch for the Central Coast including Bella Coola River (file photo)
Flood watch issued for Bella Coola River

The River Forecast Centre is issuing a Flood Watch for the Bella Coola River

Two of the three grizzly cubs that were relocated to Smithers after their mother was killed (Caitlin Thompson photo)
Bella Coola residents urged to secure attractants after two sow grizzlies killed

One sow was a mother to three cubs of the year, which have been transported to Smithers

Environment Canada says up to 70mm is expected for Bella Coola (file photo)
Rainfall warning issued for Bella Coola

Up to 70mm is expected for inland coastal sections

Carey and Angela Price announced the birth of their third child on Monday, named Lincoln. (Photo submitted)
Canadiens’ Carey Price, wife Angela, announce birth of baby boy Lincoln

Prior to Monday’s announcement, Carey and Angela had two daughters: Liv, 4, and Millie, 1

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Tyrell Giroux was arrested by Williams Lake RCMP on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Facebook video screenshot)
Tsilhqot’in leaders call for suspension of officers seen in controversial Williams Lake arrest

Disturbing video demands an immediate, independent investigation, says TNG

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Most Read