The Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board of Trustees approved the spending of the $9,285,850 federal government Safe Return to Class Fund allocated to the jurisdiction from the Government of Alberta.
“The Board of Trustees appreciates the dollars provided by the federal government to help cover additional costs for COVID-19-related school measures and is confident in the jurisdiction plan to spend the funds over the school year,” said Board Chair, Fiona Gilbert.
“The Board was also pleased that the provincial government afforded local school boards the autonomy to use these dollars to address local needs, recognizing we are in the best position to understand the needs and priorities of our communities,” she said.
The Safe Return to Class Fund spending plan allocated $2 million directly to schools.
“The principal, in consultation with their school community, will decide how best to address local school issues related to COVID-19,” Gilbert said.
The funding could be used for social-emotional learning supports, supervision, breakfast and lunch programming, staffing and class pressures, sound amplification systems, reading materials, and manipulatives.
The remaining funds, including $2.8 million will be allocated for additional teaching staff to support online offerings and address class pressures now and in February, $2 million for additional substitute teachers resulting from COVID-19 related absences, $1 million for centrally funded Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and sanitizer, $900 thousand to maintain bus routes, $400 thousand for additional online curriculum resources, technical support and equipment to better support individuals working from home, and $200 thousand for Education Centre staffing to support schools and departments with additional hiring required as a result of COVID-19, and supporting schools where there are identified cases.
“These federal funds will supplement the $2 million the board already committed from reserves to increase caretaking staffing in all schools and sites and $1.4 million of 2019/2020 operating funds dedicated towards COVID-19-related health and safety expenditures, Gilbert said.
Adding, “Our Board also recognizes the evolving nature of the pandemic and RVS will continue to monitor and respond to the needs of the jurisdiction in the best interests of our students, staff and school communities.”