Additional investments to enhance student and staff support and safety
In order to respond to the various needs expressed by the school network and to reinforce student and staff retention and safety in the current context of the pandemic, the Quebec government has confirmed a series of additional investments totalling $85M. Education Minister Jean-François Roberge made the announcement on September 26.
-$25M for training and hiring staff in schools
An initial $25M will enable schools to train and hire more staff to improve student supervision while respecting health measures.
These funds can be used, for example, to add mental health resources, support students and staff, hire psychologists, speech-language pathologists and other professionals to improve support for students with special needs, hire daycare educators and additional staff to supervise common areas and playgrounds, and hire maintenance and disinfection staff, which will make the task of other members of the school team easier.
These funds can also be used to continue school perseverance, particularly through training and coaching offered by various stakeholders to get students moving. It may also be used to hire professional coaches to provide coaching to the Sports-Études athletes.
-$20M for the maintenance of ventilation systems
To ensure that all schools have the necessary funds to regularly maintain their ventilation systems, in accordance with the recommendation of the Quebec National Institute of Public Health to this effect, the government has granted an additional $20M to the Quebec school network. As a reminder, an amount of $1.6 billion for the replacement of ventilation systems had already been confirmed to the network this summer, and work to this effect has been carried out or is underway in several institutions.
-$15M for school transportation
This new investment will improve the school transportation capacity in order to offset the effects of public health guidelines that impose a limit on the number of students per vehicle. In concrete terms, these funds will make it possible to use more school buses and hire more drivers; they will also make it possible to improve safety on the streets leading to the school, in a context where more students walk to school than in the past.
-$25M to enhance distance education services
Finally, an additional $25M will be devoted to a range of measures to support distance education, including the acquisition of subscription licences for digital educational resources, the hiring of computer technicians, the training of teaching, professional and support staff, and the development of resources for parents.
This new series of investments is being made with the federal government's upcoming funding to support educational institutions that have had to put in place health measures related to the pandemic. It should be noted that these investments do not include the purchase of additional health equipment, as these expenses are already reimbursed by the Quebec government. As an indication, more than $66M was reimbursed to the Quebec school network for expenses incurred last spring. This approach ensures that no institution is depriving itself of the purchase of sanitary equipment for fear of not having sufficient funds.
"Support for primary and secondary schools is of paramount importance in these difficult times. We must do everything we can to keep children in school, and these measures are proof of our commitment," said Eric Girard, Quebec's Minister of Finance.
[Local Journalism Initiative]