State Rep. John Rogers, D-Mentor-on-the-Lake, this week announced the release of $636,379 in state funding through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to aid local schools.
The funds, earmarked for several districts throughout Lake County, will assist with the purchasing of technologies such as Wi-Fi hotspots and internet-enabled devices in efforts to support remote learning for students this fall semester.
The BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant, a collaboration between the Ohio Department of Education, BroadbandOhio and Education Service Centers, provided Ohio schools the opportunity to apply for the funds.
According to a news release, $50 million was set aside statewide for eligible purchases of information technologies made between July 1 and Dec. 30.
“Our educators, school administrators, staff, students and families have done much in these last few weeks to adapt to precautionary measures put in place as the school year begins to make attendance both safe and successful,” Rogers said. “These grants allow schools to purchase necessary technologies to help make learning in online classrooms possible whether fully remote or with hybrid in-person education models.
“The state’s investment in these resources will help to ensure that our schools and communities are able to execute the Reset and Restart (Education) plans developed to start the new school year, as well as prepare any public health scenarios that may demand quick and responsive transitions to distance learning because of the ongoing global pandemic.”
Rogers added that the acquisition and maintenance of connectivity resources, together with other computer technologies, will continue to be a high-priority for the upcoming school year to ensure that districts using distance learning options as part of their Reset and Restart K-12 education plan can provide students with the ability to connect to their online classrooms.
In addition to the grants, the Ohio Department of Education will make available IT support staff to help schools remove barriers to internet connectivity issues while helping to coordinate access to additional state-level resources, the release stated.