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

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

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

A collaborative genomic research project is underway to map the movements of 118 Northwest sockeye populations to better inform management decisions on at-risk stocks. (File photo)
Genomic study tracks 118 Northwest B.C. sockeye populations

Development of new tool will be used to help harvesters target healthy groups

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read