Education minister ‘very comfortable’ with return-to-school plans laid out by school divisions

We’re approaching the last weekend before schools reopen and welcome back students and staff since they were closed in mid-March due to COVID-19.

While some residents have criticized the provincial government for their handling of the Safe Schools Plan, Education Minister Gord Wyant said he is very confident in the plans created by school divisions.

“After those plans were put together, of course we delayed school by a week to make sure schools could prepare,” said Wyant. “We really believe that local school divisions were in the best position to be able to put a local plan together because every school and every school division is different.”

Wyant mentioned that he is sending his granddaughter back to school and that he feels comfortable with her entering the classroom next week.

The minister announced last month that school divisions can apply for additional funds so they can handle increased costs for staffing and supplies leading up to the 2020-2021 year.

Wyant said they have have received 43 applications for a total of about $80 million as of this week. There are 27 school divisions in Saskatchewan.

“The ministry is currently reviewing those applications to see what we can fund over the next short period of time,” added Wyant. “The emphasis with the federal government funding was to make sure that schools are as prepared as possible for day one.”

The province set aside $40 million from their $200 million COVID-19 contingency fund along with the $40 million in school division savings from last school year.

The federal government also gave Saskatchewan $74.9 million for schools last week.

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