$288 million of dedicated, pandemic-related funding has been fully allocated to schools and districts and has helped keep schools open and safe for students and staff throughout the school year.
Before the 2020-21 school year began, the Government of B.C. committed $45.6 million for the safe return to school, while the Government of Canada provided an additional $242.4 million to B.C. schools through the Safe Return to Class Fund to support COVID-19 safety plans.
With this funding in hand, B.C. school districts hired approximately 2,100 additional staff, including teachers and education assistants (EAs), as well as custodial and other support staff, with an investment of nearly $110 million. This includes a total of nearly 1.46 million additional hours of teachers and EAs directly supporting students in classrooms or through remote, transitional programs.
School districts have invested:
- $98.1 million for enhanced cleaning, hygiene and personal protective equipment;
- $14.1 million for technology to support remote learning programs;
- $8.4 million for safe, enhanced transportation on school buses;
- $4.5 million for mental health supports, including counselling supports for students and staff, mental health training for staff, sensory equipment for diverse learners and mental health toolkits;
- $13.1 million for improved ventilation and HVAC systems (in addition to $33 million already invested for HVAC upgrades for 2020-21);
- $11.4 million for other initiatives, including outdoor learning spaces, food supports and noon-hour supervision; and
- $400,000 for after-school care.
$28.5 million was invested in independent schools, rapid response teams and, through the First Nations Education Steering Committee, to First Nations.
Every dollar of provincial and federal COVID-19 safe school funding was invested in a way that supported student and staff safety.
For more information about how the Province is keeping schools safe during the COVID-19 pandemic: