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SD72 to get just under $1M in federal COVID-19 funds

As kids head back to the classroom tomorrow, Campbell River’s school district is set to receive just under one million dollars from the province.

SD72’s September allocation from the $242 million in federal funding earmarked for reopening B.C. schools is $972,654.

“We haven’t planned the entire way in which that money will be spent,” says superintendent Jeremy Morrow.

He says the district will be using a significant portion of the funds to hire teaching staff to support the increased demand for its online eBlend Home Learning Program, which supports and assists homeschooling families.

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“We have approximately eleven per cent of our elementary and middle school families indicating that they would like eBlend to start the school year. By hiring those additional staff, we’re hoping that will effectively reduce class sizes all across elementary and middle schools as a result.”

RELATED: Province reveals how federal funding will be spent for schools reopening

As schools across town welcome back students, Morrow says extensive safety protocols have been put in place as a result of COVID-19.

“Some of those protocols include the distribution of PPE to all students,” Morrow says.

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PPE will need to be worn by students of all ages on buses, as well as in middle and secondary school common spaces.

“We have increased hand sanitizing stations all throughout our schools, staggered arrival and departure times, and staggered breaks. Our schools do look significantly different than they did before we broke for spring break in March.”

Morrow says the district has “certainly followed all of the guidance from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.”

“We recognize that until a vaccine is found, or effective treatment, there is a risk as a result of COVID-19. We have done everything we can to mitigate those risks.”

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SD72 teachers have been faithful in restricting their close contacts, but Morrow notes staff have voiced their concerns.

“Our teachers are so committed to the health, well-being and education of the children that we serve. But, there’s definitely some concern and I think that the concern certainly is around the health and safety of ensuring that they’re safe as well as the children in their care.”

Morrow says things have been evolving since spring break, and he anticipates changes throughout the school year.

“We know that schools reflect what’s happening in our community, and we encourage our community to continue to be mindful and to be as safe as possible. That will help to keep our schools as safe as we can make them as well,” Morrow adds.

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