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LCPS could receive more funding

Lunenburg County Public School (LCPS) officials are waiting to hear if the school system will receive more grant funds handed down from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

In May, Gov. Northam announced $62.7 million in Virginia LEARNS Education Recovery grants to help school divisions expand and implement targeted initiatives to address learning loss among Virginia students as they continue to recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The LEARNS education grant is a competitive grant, so we do not know at this time how much Lunenburg will receive,” Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations for LCPS James Abernathy said.

The deadline to apply for LEARNS grant opportunities was May 28.

With the LEARNS grant, school divisions such as LCPS can use funds for increased in-person instruction and small-group learning; targeted remediation, extended instruction, and enrichment; strategic virtual learning, technology, and staff training; social-emotional, behavioral, and mental health supports for students and staff; alternate learning opportunities; and student-progress monitoring and assessment.

According to Abernathy, to date, LCPS has been awarded $2.9 million in COVID-related recovery grants.

An Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) II grant accounts for $1.77 million that was awarded at the end of April.

Abernathy said the LCPS has until September 30, 2023, to utilize the ESSER II funds.

“We currently have spent $1,048,000 of the COVID-related recovery grant funds,” Abernathy said. “The majority of the funds have been spent on technology for remote learning.

Such expenditures include Chromebooks, hotspots, data plans, software, technology infrastructure, managed firewall services, and insurance for the devices.”

According to Abernathy, funds have also been used to purchase items to prevent the spread of COVID.

“Such items include HEPA filters, IWAVE filters, foggers, infrared thermometers, and masks,” Abernathy said. “Funds have also been used for mailing correspondence to parents and students.”

This summer, LCPS will continue to use grant funds to address the learning loss of students.

Abernathy said most of the summer funds will be used for the summer academy for students that are currently being held from now until the end of July.