OTTAWA - The federal government is providing up to $2 billion in additional funding to help provinces and territories ensure that kids can safely return to class this fall.

The money is on top of $19 billion Ottawa has already promised provinces and territories to help them cope with the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their economies and health-care systems.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says children must be safe in their classrooms and parents shouldn't be losing sleep over this.

The money will flow through a new fund specifically for school reopenings and there will also be $112 million to help schools in First Nations communities.

Trudeau says provinces and territories, which have sole jurisdiction over education, will have flexibility to spend the money as they see fit to bolster their efforts to ensure schools can reopen this fall as safely as possible.

Schools have been shut down across the country since COVID-19 started sweeping across Canada in mid-March.