The province has created a new Safe Schools budget to fund additional COVID-19 related costs.  

The Education Minister is announcing a brand-new budget for Manitoba school divisions that he says was possible thanks in part to the large savings that came from the spring's school shutdown.

"I look forward to welcoming students back to school on September 8," Manitoba's Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen says in front of Laidlaw School, a Pembina Trails elementary school. 

He says that in the spring, the shut down of schools saved the province $48 million. Instead of spending the money, Goertzen says he asked school divisions to save it for the 2020-2021 school year.

"Parents in Manitoba and across Canada are feeling a different level of anxiousness than they have in the past," Goertzen says.

He says that is own son will be attending school in the fall and understands the anxiety parents may be facing at this moment. 

Goertzen says that the $48 million in savings, combined with an additional $52 million, will be used to create a Safe Schools.

The fund for school divisions will be allocated for new safety protocols instructed by the province.

"We are all working towards the same goal; to assure students can be in school."

Goertzen says that the province expects more students and staff to be absent this fall.

"There will be human resource issues and challenges within the school system and this fund will be eligible for that as well."

The new $100 million fund will go towards enhanced cleaning procedures, adding more bus drivers where needed, and towards substitute teachers and staff as they anticipate higher levels of absenteeism. 

The province says they have purchased PPE for schools, including 4.7 million masks which are currently being delivered to Manitoban schools. 

Goertzen says that the budget will also allow the province to make changes as needed as the pandemic continues.