The Department of Education has announced a €62m Covid-19 funding scheme for schools which aims to assist in improving ventilation and minor school works.

In a statement, the department said that under the "minor works grant" €45m will be made available for primary schools and special schools which it says is part of "additional support in the context of Covid-19".

The department also announced funding of €17m for post-primary schools.

Minister for Education Norma Foley said that the increase in funding will enable schools to address both minor works requirements and "small-scale ventilation improvements at school level as a short-term mitigation measure, should they require to do so".

The Department of Education has said that under the primary minor works scheme, maintenance and small-scale improvements to school buildings and grounds can be carried out, as well as a number of other works.

The department said that a circular will be issued to schools in the coming days in relation to the funding.

"Minor works funding is important in terms of supporting the operation of schools generally and particularly within a Covid-19 environment," Minister Foley said.

"Schools may also apply for emergency works grant assistance to address larger-scale issues on a permanent basis."

The Teachers' Union of Ireland said it "noted" the announcement, adding that the Department of Education "must provide clear guidance and access to expertise on ventilation and related issues so that schools can best use the resources available."

In a statement, the TUI also called on the department "to pro-actively investigate and invest in any solutions that would further boost safety in the months ahead".

The union said that as a result of "historic underinvestment" in schools, the have been forced to tackle the "huge challenges" of Covid-19 from a worse position than those in other countries.

The funding scheme has been welcomed by Labour Party education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, but he said it was "too little too late".

In a statement, Mr Ó Ríordáin said teachers are fed up of the late moves in combating Covid-19 in the classroom.

"Schools have been calling for better ventilation since March 2020, so it is extremely disappointing that this funding will not be made available until January 2022," he said.

An Assistant Professor at UCD's School of Architecture and Planning has welcomed the announcement.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Orla Hegarty said it also signals to other buildings that this technology works and it can be rolled out in other places which will assist other people to get their businesses "future proofed".

She said ventilation is still very important and filtration is another layer of protection on top of the CO2 monitors.

The huge benefit for schools into the future is that HEPA filters will also help with colds, flus, RSV and all other childhood illnesses, she said.