Sask. Rivers and Catholic Division apply for COVID-19 funding

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The Prince Albert Catholic School Division and the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division have both applied to the Ministry of Education for funding around keeping students and staff safe in issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deadline for application was Tuesday, Dec. 1.
This was the second round of funding and both divisions were successful during the first intake ahead of school starting in September.
According to Saskatchewan Rivers director of education Robert Bratvold they have applied for similar funding.
“We have better information in regards to some of our costs. So some related technology, some related to staffing, some related to sanitation and those kind of things, those would be the bulk of the things,” Bratvold said.
“The categories that we are eligible for are very clearly defined by the ministry so they just calculate our cost within those categories and make our case,”
The Catholic division is wishing to get funding in the second intake as well.
“We are just really hopeful that our provincial government will come through with the funding that we need to operate this school year,” Catholic Division director of education Lorel Trumier said.
She explained that some of the costs that they have seen included extra bus drivers, support staff, teachers and substitute teachers having to self isolate.
“There is real time costs that are coming into play which we need to have staff in front of our children and do the best we can. On any given phone call it can mean staff replacement, it could mean four staff, it could mean one, it could mean many, it just depends.”
She explained that many employee groups are impacted
“You need to have caretakers cleaning those classrooms, you need to have teachers teaching in front of them and doing what they can,” Trumier said.
The funding comes from the more than $150 million in the COVID contingency fund for education from provincial, federal and school division savings.
The funds will be used for sanitation, furniture and equipment, remote learning (for immunocompromised and other students) and IT costs not associated to remote learning.
Applications are expected to be submitted by school divisions, qualified independent schools and historical high schools.
The ministry will then adjudicate the applications based on the criteria and will notify applicants in early December. Bratvold expects the decision to be made before the Christmas break.
“I would rather them take the time to got through and distribute the funds appropriately than rush something and not get the picture right,” Bratvold said.
According to the Ministry there is $64 million remaining for the second round of applications in the COVID contingency fund for education.
Before school began in September, $51 million was committed toward the first round of funding for school divisions and school applicants for emergent, one-time expenses associated with a safe return to school.
Prior to the first funding intake, school divisions spent a combined $30 million on one-time school capital initiatives and preparations for the school year.
The Ministry of Education has allocated $10 million for personal protective equipment expenses, of which $3.4 million has been spent to date.
In the second round of COVID contingency funding for education applications, recipients of the first round of funding are required to report their detailed use of funds to the Ministry of Education.