A high school graduate crosses the stage during the filming of Chilliwack secondary’s commencement ceremony on Friday, May 22, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last school year’s graduation ceremony was filmed over the course of five days in small groups of 25 students. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress file)

Chilliwack School District outlines plans for $3.5 million in COVID-19 funding

Pandemic funding from provincial and federal governments mostly goes to staffing

The Chilliwack School District has received nearly $3.5 million in combined funding to help with the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The biggest injection comes from the $242 million Federal Safe Return to Class Fund, announced Sept. 3. The district’s first allotment of that fund is just over $2.4 million. A second allotment will come later in the year.

The Ministry of Education is also administering at one-time provincial boost of $45.6 million, spread among B.C.’s schools. Chilliwack will receive $1.07 million from that fund.

READ MORE: Chilliwack school district releases back-to-school protocols

A staff report that will be shared at the Chilliwack School Board’s Sept. 29 meeting outlines how all that money is being spent locally.

The federal funding is meant for the following line items in the budget: Learning Resources and Supports, Health & Safety, Transportation, and Before and After School Child Care.

The provincial money, which was announced in early August, has already been earmarked. It will be spent on cleaning frequency ($570,729), improving hand hygiene ($227,547), cleaning supplies ($126,553), computers and assistive technology ($94,465) and reusable masks and face shields ($53,808).

The staff report shows preliminary plans for the spending. They are projecting the majority of the federal funding will be spent on hybrid and transition teacher roles, as well as EAs, at just over $2 million. Increased cleaning staff is listed at $1.2 million. Other items listed include more teaching staff, support staff, recruiting costs, First Nations support and mental health support.

Watch for more on this story following the Sept. 29 meeting. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public via Zoom webinar.

READ MORE: Chilliwack school district rolls out next year’s budget, expects COVID-19 costs to change things


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