Lunenburg schools receive CARE funds

Published 11:03 am Thursday, May 7, 2020

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Virginia Public schools will receive $238.6 million in federal funding under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Security Act.

The emergency legislation, also known as the CARES Act, was approved by Congress and signed into law on March 27.

Lunenburg County Public Schools will receive $472,088.46 from the program.

Ninety percent of the funding, totaling more than $214.7 million, will pass directly to the commonwealth’s school divisions. Amounts for each division are based on the formula used to allocate funding for schools under Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Ten percent of the commonwealth’s allocation, approximately $23.9 million, is reserved for statewide efforts to expand distance learning by increasing access to technology and through the development of resources for students, families and educators.

“The CARES Act funding will enable our schools to move forward with initiatives to address gaps and inequities that have been brought into clear focus as a result of COVID-19,” Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane said. “The emergency funding will also sustain the ongoing efforts of school divisions to keep students connected with learning while schools are closed, and respond to their emotional and mental health needs.”

Potential initiatives, informed by the VDOE’s Continuity for Learning Task Force and Return to Schooling Recovery Task Force, include:

· Expansion of the Virtual Virginia online learning program to grades pre-K through 12, including online courses, professional learning opportunities and digital content for school divisions;

· Expansion of instructional content and lessons offered by Virginia public television stations;

· Expansion of GoOpenVA openly licensed education resource platform to support online instruction and resources related to academic content missed this spring due to the closure of schools;

· Regional and division-level grants to support teacher training and professional development for teachers who serve at-risk populations, including distance learning and remote services for students with disabilities;

· Targeted, needs-based grants to school divisions to increase internet access, provide funding for technology equipment, educational materials and other remote learning resources.

· Development or purchase of a statewide learning management system that can be accessed remotely by all Virginia educators.

“In addition, I am in dialogue with division superintendents to solicit their thoughts and ideas on how VDOE can best support their efforts during the pandemic and the period of recovery that will follow,” Lane said.

The CARES Act gives local school divisions wide latitude in how they spend their allocations. Approved uses for the funding include, but are not limited to the following:

· Services and expenses directly related to the pandemic, such as cleaning of schools and other facilities;

· Expenses related to providing extended learning opportunities, including summer and after-school programs;

· Instructional and support services for economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, homeless students, migrant students, students in foster care, and racial and ethnic minority students;

· Expenses related to expanding and improving distance learning options for all students;

· Mental health services; and

· Career and technical education.