The B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF) has outlined its suggestions for $242 million dollars in federal funding earmarked for reopening schools in B.C. during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sum is part of $2 billion the federal government announced in late August to help schools across the country reopen. The money can be used to help adapt learning spaces, improve air ventilation, increase hand sanitation and hygiene and buy extra personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies.
In a letter to the Ministry of Education from BCTF President Teri Mooring on Tuesday, she called the funding "a gamechanger for B.C.'s K–12 restart plan, and could be used in a proactive way to address many of the health and safety concerns teachers and parents have as the school year is about to start."
The union has outlined a few key areas where it believes the funding should be applied:
- Creating smaller class sizes to enable physical distancing.
- Using the funding to reduce school and classroom density to enable teachers, support staff and students to achieve physical distancing.
- Creating hybrid and remote options in every school district.
- Funding more mental health resources for students.
Mooring went on to say that teachers want schools to reopen and welcome students back enthusiastically, but these improvements would go a long way in strengthening the return to school plan.
As it stands, the majority of B.C.'s students are expected back in full-time in-class learning on Sept. 10.