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An Ontario First Nations group says the federal government is failing to facilitate a safe back-to-school plan for its nearly 9,000 elementary and secondary school students.

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation says Ottawa has “ignored urgent requests” for supplies and funding to insulate NAN schools against COVID-19.

Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox says NAN communities are in particular need of personal protective equipment and sanitization supplies.

He says the group has requested $33 million in government aid to cover those costs, but has been told its plans are too “far-reaching.”

Fox says a government official told NAN there is a lack of available funds as numerous regions gear up for reopening.

But the deputy grand chief believes it’s another instance of First Nations being treated as an afterthought.

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