Schools in the Northwest Territories are poised to receive a financial boost from the government to go toward more teachers, laptops, at-home internet access and more.
The territory announced that $12.37 million will be doled out to schools, $4.85 million of which comes from the federal government, according to a news release issued on Thursday. The N.W.T. government says it's to help deal with costs related to schools' responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding, a joint initiative between the departments of Education, Culture and Employment and Finance will also provide funding for tablets, along with additional substitute teachers, custodians, cleaning and sanitization supplies, at-home learning supplies and protective equipment, the release says.
Adding teachers will allow more students to receive face-to-face instruction while adhering to physical distancing requirements, according to the release.
"The health, safety and wellbeing of students and educators remain the top priority as we begin to settle into the 2020-2021 school year," said R.J. Simpson, minister of Education, Culture and Employment.
"We have worked hard to ensure schools have the resources and supports in place to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our education system. It is our goal to continue offering an effective learning environment for all students as the global pandemic situation unfolds."
Caroline Wawzonek, minister of finance, said the pandemic has created unique challenges for educators, students and families in the territory and that the government is "committed" to supporting them.
"This new funding will cover the additional costs that come with physical distancing, additional cleaning and disinfecting, and access to distance learning," Wawzonek said in the statement.