(ABC4) – Schools that have taken safety measures against COVID-19 will now be supported by the government.

The U.S. Department of Education has announced a new grant program that will provide funding to school districts that have been negatively affected due to implementing safety protocols against COVID-19.

The grant program, called Project SAFE (Supporting America’s Families and Educators), will support schools that saw funds withheld by their state or were otherwise financially penalized for implementing COVID safety mandates.

The announcement is part of President Biden’s continued plan to encourage schools to adopt health and safety protocols to combat the spread of COVID-19 on campuses.

“Every student across the country deserves the opportunity to return to school in-person safely this fall, and every family should be confident that their school is implementing policies that keep their children safe,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “We should be thanking districts for using proven strategies that will keep schools open and safe, not punishing them. We stand with the dedicated educators doing the right thing to protect their school communities, and this program will allow them to continue that critical work of keeping students safe.”

Federal officials will be notifying schools when applications to receive Project SAFE grants open in the coming weeks.

President Biden continues to encourage all schools to adopt vaccine mandates and regularly test students, using funds from the American Rescue Plan, which has granted over $122 billion to help aid coronavirus testing and measures across the country.

Earlier this week, President Biden announced a sweeping vaccine mandate affecting 100 million Americans, requiring large companies to mandate vaccines or administer weekly testing.

These mandates come at a time when Utah consistently sees daily surges in new COVID-19 infections, with Intermountain Healthcare announcing on Friday they will be postponing non-emergency surgeries due to an overwhelming lack of capacity in the ICU.