School's (almost) In!

I saw an article this week that underscored what will be on every parent’s mind over the next couple of weeks; what is going to happen when the school year starts? It’s been a hot topic among my colleagues and friends. So what exactly should we do here?

School boards are asking the same questions. The uncertainty around whether things will start up, what the rules will be, how to best protect everyone - these issues are all up in the air, even at this late date.

In Saskatchewan, and around the country, I’m sure, school boards are feeling the pinch of the extra protocols, and the costs associated with them. It looks like there will be a push for more funding related to PPE, not to mention the costs of all the extra instruction required.

For their part, the provinces must make some difficult decisions as the clock ticks down. How will these costs be funded? If it’s a competitive process, how can we choose which schools are more deserving than others? Would this extra funding be put to better use if it was used for online teaching platforms, and the kids stayed home?

This kind of broader decision making is what forms the overall framework of Provincial funding. That is why we track these developments very intently. It allows the GrantMatch Specialists to see patterns emerge and be at the forefront of the funding process.

I really feel for those parents out there. On the one hand, we’re all anxious to get things back to normal as soon as possible. And we do want our kids to have the socialization of being in a group setting with their friends, and the education, of course! Or how about just getting the little critters out of the house and out from underfoot.

But on the other hand, there is significant risk to another outbreak, and if we go ahead with opening up schools, it will surely accelerate the curve.

Whatever decisions we make will be imperfect. So let’s try to be open and understanding as we move forward. And for Pete’s sake, let’s make sure schools have the funding they need to provide the safest experience possible for our kids.

Dan Civiero, Managing Partner, GrantMatch™“


Saskatoon school divisions ‘looking into’ applying for additional provincial funding to return to class

By Brady Lang/CKOM News Staff - Aug 19, 2020 3:21 PM

Following the province’s Monday announcement of additional funding and an extra week for the return to school, Saskatoon’s school divisions are preparing for the Sept. 8 start date.

In an emailed statement Tuesday, Saskatoon Public Schools (SPS) said it welcomes additional funding from the province to “meet the challenge of reopening schools safely.”

“Our school division has spent approximately $400,000 in preparation for school reopening on items such as water bottle filling stations, gloves, reusable masks for both staff members and students, disposable masks for backup, face shields, hand sanitizer, signage, and plexiglass shields,” the statement reads. It continues to say the biggest cost it is facing is instruction. It is planning to have more staff members stay home and will need more substitute teachers and educational assistants. It was unable to estimate the impact on its expenses with instruction.

SPS confirmed that it is looking into applying for additional funding from the province’s $40 million from a $200-million COVID-19 contingency fund. Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) also confirmed to 650 CKOM it is looking into applying for additional funding from the contingency budget for the upcoming school year.

Diane Boyko, GSCS board chair said she wasn’t sure how much the board would be looking for from the province. She did give a look as to where the division is in returning to class, however. “We’re going to be working on the registration part of all of this, to be able to see what parents are saying out there— what their intention is. I think there’s been a lot of changes that have happened in a fairly short amount of time,” Boyko said Tuesday.

The board chair also spoke about Premier Scott Moe’s announcements on Facebook Saturday, and Monday on the updated return to school plan. “Were we surprised? Well, we’ve been planning for a long time… I would say that we were prepared because of all of the work that’s been done,” she explained. “We can’t just turn on a dime. We’ve got 20,000 kids we’re responsible for. We’ve got almost 2,000 staff, and so, for us to be able to respond, we need to have (all) kinds of contingency plans that are in the works to be able to move forward.”

Boyko said an additional updated plan was sent to parents on Tuesday. It can be found here. In its report, GSCS offers online learning for its students.


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