WATERLOO -- The Waterloo Region Public School Board has released a letter it sent to the Ontario Minister of Education asking for nearly $8 million.

In the letter dated Thursday, Jayne Herring, the chairperson of the board of trustees for WRDSB, requests the increase in funding to maintain the health and wellbeing of staff and students.

The board estimates costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic to be $7.9 million, which includes:

  • $3.12 million for student and staff personal protective equipment
  • $1 million for additional cleaning supplies and staff
  • $2 million for replacement staff just for first three months of the school year
  • $600,000 for additional transportation costs for just the first three months

The letter reads that busses will be limited to 24 students each, masks will be required while riding, and frequent cleanings will be needed.

There will be a need to install wayfinding and physical distancing signage, new cleaning protocols, as well as an increase in overtime and hiring of temporary custodial staff, according to the school board.

“Our school communities are relying on us to provide a safe return to school for all in September and we need you to help us achieve these goals by providing adequate funding,” the letter reads.

Board officials say they’ll be forced to make cuts to balance the budget if the province can’t supply the funding.