$52M promised for COVID-19 back-to-school costs in Manitoba

By | August 24, 2020

Manitoba schools will have an extra $52 million to draw from to fund safety measures as students prepare to head back to class amid rising COVID-19 case numbers. 

In addition to paying for personal protective equipment, some of that money will be available to hire additional staff, Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said at a news conference Monday morning.

“There will be human resource challenges within the school system, and this fund will be eligible for that as well,” he said.

School divisions also saved $48 million earlier this year, and the province ordered them to hold onto money not being used when in-class learning was suspended in spring to help with costs when kids return to class.

Added together, the total amount available for back-to-school COVID-19 costs is $100 million. 

Before school divisions can apply for the provincial funding, they have to use up their savings, Goertzen said. 

“The expectation would be that the savings that were garnered from money that taxpayers supplied but that weren’t used in the spring” would be spent first, and then they can apply to have additional costs covered, he said. 

The new money also can be used to help cover additional costs associated with transporting students to and from school.

Several school divisions have announced they would limit space on school buses to high-need students in order to meet physical distancing guidelines.

The funds will be allocated as needed on a per-pupil basis to school divisions and independent schools, Goertzen said.

A portion of the funds will be held back to address urgent needs on a case-by-case basis.

The union representing teachers in Manitoba, educators and parents have called on the province to provide funding to hire more staff in order to reduce class sizes and ensure there is an adequate supply of substitutes and educational assistants. 

View original article here Source