Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools has focused the $1.955 million of federal education funding it received into three key operational areas, benefiting both students and aiding in COVID-19 safety efforts. These areas include additional instructional staff for predicted in-class population increases as well as for online education courses, facility operations, maintenance, and transportation cleaning costs.
Superintendent of Schools Karl Germann says it’s a strange feeling knowing COVID-19 infections are bound to happen while operating to prevent or delay them for as long as possible.
“You really feel responsible for the health and safety of people and you want to make sure that everything is done so that kids are safe and staff are safe,” he says. “You want to work really hard to do the best you can and I think we are.”
The school division reports just over $1.2 million has been allocated to new staff, as well as masks and plexiglass. A total of $664,000 is being used for cleaning materials and custodial increases in the interest of keeping sanitation up to par and students as safe as possible. The remaining $90,700 is being spent on transportation cleaning costs.
As of the time of publication, there has yet to be a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the Catholic school division. Germann says the team, however, is expecting something to happen eventually.
“We’re going to do our best to make sure that we keep the spaces safe and keep kids clean and healthy, and keep staff clean and healthy, and hopefully that will at least slow down or eliminate cases in our jurisdiction.”
German notes 420 students are enrolled in online learning this year, and 73 in-home education.