BRSD: COVID-19 costs are adding up

Briefs from the Jan. 28 Board of Trustees meeting

Battle River School Division logo

The Battle River School Division (BRSD) trustees heard at their meeting on Jan. 28, 2021, that the extra costs being incurred to keep students and school staff safe through the pandemic are continuing to rise.

About $1.4 million has been spent this year on the development of an At-Home Learning Program for families who are not currently attending school in-person, as well as for additional staff to do daytime cleaning in school buildings and for all the specialized disinfectants and Personal Protective Equipment that is required to clean and sanitize schools and school buses.

Re-investing in students

When the new budget year began in September, Battle River School Division was in the process of selecting a new insurance provider. As the cost of insurance has risen significantly in recent years, the division set aside a generous amount in preparation for any unexpected increases. Now that the insurance contract is settled, there are dollars remaining unspent.

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to re-invest those dollars into programs and services that will benefit students and staff.

More than $300,000 was allocated to support literacy, student assessment and development of new programs that will meet student learning needs, as well as for technology equipment, program promotion and survey software that will help the division obtain input from parents. In addition, funds were allocated for the development of a 10-year capital project plan and for the purchase of flow meters and monitoring equipment, in order to better protect school buildings from water damage. Installation of the meters will also help mitigate risk, which is beneficial to our insurance premiums.

Consolidating programs

BRSD will be combining four different schools and programs into one umbrella service designed to meet the needs of students who want alternative programming.

Camrose Outreach School, Battle River Online School, Home Education and the new At-Home Learning program are all being consolidated, effective the 2021-2022 school year.

The division has already put the schools and programs under the supervision of one Administrator. COS and BROL are also now located in the same physical space.

This change requires the school division to go through a school closure process for BROL School, to enable the marking and accounting processes to be combined with Camrose Outreach School by Alberta Education. This is only a procedural process and will not impact the service to students in any way. The closure motion will be dealt with at the Board’s March meeting.

Planning for summer school

BRSD will be offering summer school in a virtual format this July, which makes it possible for non-BRSD students to enroll and be supported in their learning.

Non-refundable fees for courses were set at $45 per course for BRSD students and $65 per course for non-BRSD students. These fees offset the use of chromebooks and software required by both students and staff.

– Source: Battle River School Division

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Thursday that the province was ready to move forward with Phase 2A and B in the coming weeks. (Photo by Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier)
COVID restrictions for retail, sports and performers further eased

Occupancy in stores and malls boosted to 25 per cent from 15 per cent

Advocate file image
Red Deer COVID cases continue to decline

249 cases in Red Deer, down from 565 peak on Feb. 22

File photo
Gov’t of Alberta identifies estimated 300 new COVID-19 cases Sunday

Online COVID-19 dashboard unavailable as upgrades being completed

Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

A SAGA member (left) poses as Jessi Hanks (right) with Castle Restaurant puts up a safe space sticker to display on the restaurant’s front door. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
SAGA Wetaskiwin works with local businesses to display they are a safe space

The safe space stickers show that its a safe and inclusive space.

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during their appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta Appeal Court orders 3rd trial for parents in toddler’s meningitis death

Stephans were accused of not seeking medical attention sooner for Ezekiel, who had meningitis when he died

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Kiara Robillard is seen in an undated handout photo. When the pandemic began, Robillard had to rush back home to Alberta from California, where she had been living for five years, after she was struck by a truck that broke her spine in two places. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Kiara Robillard, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘It kind of clicks:’ Text4Hope program helps with depression, anxiety during pandemic

Participants receive one text message every morning for three months

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

Most Read