Laois schools are to share out more than €1 million some of which will go to ventilation upgrades which could help stem Covid-19 infections.
The funding was revealed by Laois Offaly TD Seán Fleming who is Minister of State at the Department of Finance. He also confirmed that while nearly €325,000 has been allocated to help disadvantaged learners in Laois Offaly
He said €1.1 million funding has been granted to Laois primary and Post-primary schools under the Minor Works Grant.
"This funding for schools will enable them to address both their minor works requirements and also to address small-scale ventilation improvements at school level as a short-term mitigation measure, should they require to do so.
"Managing ventilation is just one of public health measures to keep our students safe in school and this funding also provides an opportunity for schools to enhance their outdoor learning environments for use as the weather permits," he said.
Minister Fleming said funding is allocated based on students enrolments in each school. He said primary schools will be granted between €6,610 to €14,750. He added that post-primary schools will receive grant amounts between €20,000 and €30,000.
"This is excellent news for schools in their work in managing COVID. I want to acknowledge and thank everyone involved in the school communities for their excellent work during these difficult times," he said.
The funding was also welcomed by Laois Offaly Minister of State Pippa Hackett.
“This funding for minor works in schools is very welcome during this time of Covid. I’m delighted to see Laois schools receiving €1.11m. Schools can decide for themselves how best to spend this money, given that they all have different needs. Keeping our schools open and our children safe is a vital part of our response to the Covid crisis,” she said.
The Fianna Fáil minister also confirmed that Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) has been granted €321,410 funding to support the most educationally disadvantaged learners in accessing and participating in community education.
He said the Fund has a strong focus on building the digital infrastructure of community education providers, including providing devices and software, and increasing their capacity to deliver online learning.
"The purpose of the Fund is to assist ETBs to increase their capacity, and that of community education providers, to address the decline in participation of disadvantaged learners particularly those on literacy and basic skills programmes," he said.
Minister Fleming added that the priorities for funding are: Digital technologies, learner assistance fund, out-reach and/or n mentoring, Covid-19 recovery exceptional circumstances.
"I would like to acknowledge the great work by Laois Offaly Education and Training Board supporting learners and the difficulties they have faced throughout the Covid pandemic. I hope this additional funding will provide excellent support for their ongoing programmes," he said.
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