Grants totalling €72 million are to be made available to schools and childcare facilities to cover the costs of applying anti-COVID measures.
Primary schools will receive €45 million, secondary schools will get €17 million and early learning and childcare providers will receive €10 million.
The schools will be tasked with how best to spend the funds to meet their individual needs.
"This significant increase in 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," said Minister for Education Norma Foley. "Minor works funding is important in terms of supporting the operation of schools generally and particularly within a Covid-19 environment. Schools may also apply for emergency works grant assistance to address larger-scale issues on a permanent basis. This funding also provides an opportunity for schools to enhance their outdoor learning environments for use as the weather permits."
Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has announced temporary employment arrangements that will allow certain students in relevant fields to take up work in early learning and childcare facilities to ease staffing pressures.
"Children’s health and well-being is at the forefront of all our work," O'Gorman said. "Early Learning and childcare providers have risen to the challenge of adapting to the current Covid-19 restrictions. To further support their efforts and make these critical services safer for children, their families and the early learning and childcare workforce, I am pleased to announce this grant programme to improve ventilation. I am also announcing temporary employment arrangements for students, where colleges will – where possible – facilitate students of early learning and care education programmes to work in settings until the end of January 2022 to relieve current staff supply pressures owing to Covid-19."