student tech 071520More than $108 million allocated for COVID education funding

PLAINFIELD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is pleased to learn more than $100 million will go toward bridging the digital divide in schools across the state and protecting the safety of both students and teachers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every student in the state deserves a quality education and should not be hindered by access to technology,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Technology is a critical tool in learning, and we must invest in it to give students the resources they need to succeed.”

More than $108 million in federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds have been allocated to preK-12 public education and higher education institutions to meet the unique challenges of COVID-19.

A total of $10 million of the funds will support early childhood education programs, while K-12 schools will receive $50 million to close the digital divide, train educators and parents and supply social-emotional supports for students.

In total, school districts will receive $32.5 million to purchase laptops and tablets and $7.5 million to purchase WiFi hotspots and increase internet connectivity for students and their families.

Higher education institutions will receive $49 million, most of which will go directly to public universities and community colleges to help students overcome barriers created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The funds will allow students across the state to have access to essential tools they need to be successful in school,” Bertino-Tarrant, who serves as chair of the Senate’s education committee, said. “We need to support students by closing the digital literacy gap and ensuring equitable technology access for all.”