Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced over 2 billion Canadian dollars (about US $1.52 billion) in funding to help provinces and territories in the country reopen their schools safely.
Less than two weeks before most Canadian schools are set to reopen for the fall term, Trudeau’s announcement came as some provinces are reporting increases in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.
The new fund is on top of 19 billion Canadian dollars Trudeau already promised provinces and territories last month to help them cope with the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their economies and health care systems.
The funding is meant to allow provinces and territories to work with local school boards to implement measures to protect students and staff from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It can be used to help adapt learning spaces, improve air ventilation, increase hand sanitation and hygiene and buy extra personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.
Trudeau said returning children to school safely is critical to restarting the economy since it would allow parents to return to work without stressing about the health of their children.
“Our children must be safe in the classroom. That’s non-negotiable,” he said.
Trudeau added that his government would also be investing 112 million Canadian dollars in indigenous community schools to help them with their restart plans.
Canadian students have been learning from home since the COVID-19 outbreak shut down schools and businesses in mid-March.