Nunavut to receive $5.75M from feds for school safety

“We know families are worried about sending their children back to school”

Cambridge Bay’s Kiilinik High School will be among the Nunavut schools that will receive some extra money from Ottawa to make sure facilities remain safe for students and teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

By Jane George

Nunavut will receive $5.75 million in federal money to help make its schools safer places for children during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of a $2-billion spending commitment, the federal government announced yesterday.

“Canada’s children have shown immense strength throughout this global pandemic. With a new school year about to begin, our government is committed to helping ensure that Canada’s students and teachers can safely return to their classrooms,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference, while acknowledging that education is a provincial and territorial jurisdiction.

Money from the Safe Return to Class Fund will help Nunavut and other territories and provinces by supporting adapted learning spaces, improved air ventilation, increased hand sanitation and hygiene, and purchases of personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, a news release on the fund said.

“We know families are worried about sending their children back to school. The COVID‑19 pandemic has put pressure on our schools and on families. That is why today’s announcement is so important. It will help schools across Canada have the support and equipment they need to keep kids, teachers, and families safe,” Marc Miller, the minister of Indigenous Services, said in the release.

Nunavut, like the other provinces and territories, will receive the money in two instalments, with a first disbursement in fall 2020 and the balance early in 2021, “to ensure that provinces and territories have support for the whole school year,” the release said.

The funding by province and territory will be allocated based on the number of children between four and 18 years old, with a $2-million base amount being provided to each jurisdiction.

Quebec is slated to receive $432.15 million, some of which will go to Nunavik.

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