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COVID-19 has already placed a huge financial burden on schools who are responsible for keeping students safe while on campus. Returning students to the all-in, five days a week model will incur even more expenses.

Part 4: Cost

Returning to in-person learning five days a week will be expensive. The District has already incurred approximately $1.5 million to cover school-specific expenses related to COVID-19 such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the WRAP program, increased custodial expenses, outdoor tents and a health screener, among others.

A significant portion of the funds to cover these costs came from the 2021 fiscal year operating budget. The school committee worked to carefully reallocate resources to cover costs. Over half the reallocation came from the transportation budget because of buses.

During the hybrid learning model, bus passes were not available to high school students or families who lived within two miles of their school. 7th and 8th graders could only sign up to use the bus if there were seats left available.

Returning in-person learning, five days a week this spring will mean additional costs, such as providing the necessary desks to allow each student to have their own desk and be socially distanced.

The school committee projects an additional cost of $400,000 to cover the COVID-19 needs for this spring.

This money will come from grants and more reallocation of funds from the operating budget.

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