Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen today announced the Safe Schools funding allocations for school divisions in an effort to ensure safe and healthy learning environments.
MTS president James Bedford says funds should also be allocated to reducing class sizes to ensure proper physical distancing in schools.
Of the $52 million made available, Goertzen says $12 million is being estimated for masks and personal protective equipment (PPE), $32 million for school divisions and independent schools to access up to a per-pupil maximum, and $8 million to address serious and urgent health and safety measures over and above the school division allocation.
In addition to PPE and masks, funding will also be used to support schools, teachers and students with enhanced cleaning and sanitization including more supplies and custodial staffing, increased bus transportation capacity, technology related costs, and ensuring substitute teachers and educational staff are available to keep schools open and children learning.
“As the situation evolves, there could be a need for increased funding and we expect that the government will provide funds as needed to ensure the safety of everyone in our public schools,” Bedford said. “The need for smaller class sizes in order to maintain proper physical distancing in schools still exists. The two-metre recommendation should be extended to schools and a reduction in class size is necessary to achieve this.”
MTS is also hoping to see a plan for recruiting and retaining substitute teachers as well as a breakdown of how the $85.4 million in federal funds for education will be allocated, Bedford added.