Angus Council is expected to spend half a million pounds on hygiene and safety in schools over the next academic year, a new report has revealed.
The report, which went before the Children and Learning committee this week, outlined that the ongoing cost of tackling the Covid-19 pandemic in Angus schools is estimated to reach £500,000 by next year.
This includes bulk orders of PPE, as well as additional general waste bin or collection to assist them with the increased waste being generated by cleaning and the protective equipment.
The report detailed: “Based on an analysis of spend to date on PPE, the latest projected cost for the provision of hygiene and safety items on an ongoing basis is £500,000 for the full academic session.
“This figure remains an estimate and we continue to monitor expenditure closely.
“The Scottish Government has announced two grant funds to support local authorities with meeting the costs of PPE, cleaning and other logistical arrangements. From the initial £20million fund Angus Council has been allocated £478,000.”
It is expected that a Scottish Government fund being made available to local authorities will help cover the costs but if there is a funding gap, this will be covered by repurposing existing council budgets.
The report noted: “A further £30million fund will be available however details are not yet available of how this funding will be distributed or accessed.
Based on an analysis of spend to date on PPE, the latest projected cost for the provision of hygiene and safety items on an ongoing basis is £500,000 for the full academic session.”
Angus Council education recovery and resilience update report
“For budget planning purposes, £600,000 has been assumed to be available from this further funding and this has reflected in the budget revisions approved by Council on 10 September 2020.
“It is anticipated that part of the Early Learning and Childcare revenue budget will be repurposed to cover any shortfall not met by government funding.”
Similarly a Fife council report, due to go before the policy and coordination committee on Thursday, detailed that the the cost of purchases of PPE has increased by £2.8m and the cost of heating in schools has increased by £2.5m.
The Angus council report also detailed that there were six times as many home schooling requests in the first school term compared same period last year, as concerns about the spread of the virus in schools continue.
The DD11 postcode in the region had the highest number of absences, with 224.
The report read: “From August to October 2020, there have been 18 requests for home education and two for flexilearning.
“This is an increase compared to the same time period in 2019 when we received three applications for home education.
“These requests cite safety concerns about transmission of the virus in schools as well as parents simply wishing to spend more time with their children.”