Federal Money Will Advance School Life
Life in Nova Scotia schools continues to change thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of Education today announced investments in healthy food programs, math and literacy programs, personal protective equipment for staff and students, and more.
Zach Churchill says $14.3 in million new initiatives are part of the federal Safe Return to Class Fund.
Churchill says, “We know that student well-being helps drive student success. These investments will support the health and safety of our students and provide the supports they need to be successful at school.”
The province will invest $500,000 to meet the increased demand for the School Healthy Eating Program and $1 million to support an Emergency Food Response Fund to quickly respond to food needs of students, should at-home learning be needed.
A $4.1 million pilot program is focussed toward online math and literacy programs. These programs will be accessible to students in class or at home. The new programs include grades 3 to 10 math, grades primary to 3 enhanced literacy, including phonemic awareness (ability to hear and manipulate larger units of sound, such as words, rhymes and syllables), phonics, fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension, and grades 4 to 6 writing through practice, and additional supports for skill development including a focus on reading and writing.
Professional learning for teachers will be part of a phased implementation of these programs.
Touchless water stations will be installed in every school, reducing health risks and improving the quality of water. Schools with clean water supplies will move from bottled water to the new water filling stations.
Remediation of water taps will continue in schools where elevated levels of lead exceeded Health Canada guidelines. About 950 units will be purchased at a cost of $3.8 million.
Ventilation system inspections will be carried out in all regional centres for education during the summer. Funding of $2.7 million will ensure these systems continue to be inspected through the school year and that needed repairs are made quickly. This is over and above annual maintenance.
Other investments include:
- $1.5 million to purchase additional personal protective equipment (PPE), like masks, hand sanitizer, and other supplies for students and staff
- $700,000 to support a transition to blended learning, if required, so schools can reorganize and relocate furniture and supplies in a short period of time
The regional executive director for local schools says, “With this funding, Chignecto Central Regional Centre for Education will be able to install approximately 240 touchless water bottle filling stations in schools across the region.” Gary Adams added, “This will allow us to meet accessibility standards and provide drinking water in a more hygienic manner.”
To learn more about Nova Scotia's Back to School Plan, and for FAQs about learning during the pandemic, go to: https://novascotia.ca/backtoschool.
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