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Monday , 19 October 2020
Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright MLA Garth Rowswell

Back to school, more funding equals more safety

Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright MLA Garth Rowswell is letting families know what to expect when schools reopen in September.

Although he is currently in session, Rowswell said there are slight changes within the school system and funding that will help aid the new normal.

Since being shut down in March, students were learning online but the province is wanting to resume their formal in person and hands on learning at school.

“The data we see suggests the majority of children learn better in class so we are trying to get back to as normal as possible,” said Rowswell.

“I would think this will take a load off many people’s minds. This pandemic created a real disruption in their lives.”

Changes parents will notice

Going back to school will involve a few changes in order to ensure everyone’s safety. Rowswell said schools will open under Scenario 1 which will include the least restrictive health measures.

A daily questionnaire for students, staff, parents, and visitors will help identify and eliminate any risks. Otherwise, circumstances for students are expected to be almost normal.

“Albertans have been pretty responsible in flattening the curve,” said Rowsell.

He feels their continued responsibility will allow for the re-entry to go smoothly.

Funding for local schools

With the new school year approaching each school division across the province will see increased funding, with $120 million being distributed overall. At full funding capacity, this will allow for job creation locally and throughout Alberta.

“The educational assistants and bus drivers that were laid off in May will now be able to come back,” said Rowswell.

An additional $15 million will be doled out specifically for accelerated capital maintenance and renewal projects. These will include improvements such as hands-free sinks or hand dryers to help schools avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Across the border

Schools in Lloydminster fall under Saskatchewan rules, so Rowswell is hoping the two provinces will coordinate their re-openings together.

Saskatchewan’s Deputy Premier and Minster of Education, Gordon Wyant, announced that their schools would also resume in September. He said that the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education are currently working together to create guidelines for how to minimize risks and provide protection for students, staff and caregivers.

About Angela Mouly

Angela comes to Lakeland Connect after leaving traditional newspaper where she spent the past four years reporting on community events. Her repertoire includes writing about history, politics, agriculture, sports, entertainment and art. She was the third place recipient of an AWNA General Excellence Award for “Best Front Page” during their 2016 Better Newspaper Competition. Angela has lived in rural Alberta all her life and in Vermilion for the past 15 years. She looks forward to continuing to serve and inform the Lakeland community by joining in people's many adventures and sharing their stories.