British Columbia

BCTF says new federal funding should be spent on smaller class sizes, hybrid learning options

The federal government announced $2 billion in funding to help schools across Canada reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, and B.C. has been earmarked $242 million.

B.C. will get $242M of the federal government's $2B earmarked to help schools reopen

A sign welcoming students back to school outside of Hastings Elementary prior to the first day of school Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

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. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now