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

Police cordoned off the block of Fifth Avenue from Burde Street to Bute Street in front of the Phoenix House sobering centre in the early-morning hours of Sunday, April 4, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Port Alberni stabbing suspect arrested in Nanaimo

Man was also in possession of fentanyl: RCMP

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Port Alberni postpones organics collection to September 2021

Collection carts will be stored at Port Alberni Port Authority terminal

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour closures coming to Hwy. 4 between Port Alberni and Tofino-Ucluelet

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read