$12.5M in CARES Act funds to be used to enhance distance learning

280

The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration has announced the development of a plan for the use of $12.5 million in Education Stabilization Funds from the CARES Act to address the impact of COVID-19 on the educational system.

The plan was developed in conjunction with the University of Guam, Guam Community College, the Guam Department of Education, the public charter schools, the private schools, and the island’s telecommunications companies.

“While the safety of our people remains our top priority, our new normal requires that we embrace technology and ensure our students can resume their lessons uninterrupted in the school year ahead,” stated Governor Lou Leon Guerrero. “I’ve asked the Lieutenant Governor to spearhead this effort because of his experience in handling federal dollars and his existing relationship with our education partners.”

Under Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio’s oversight, Education Stabilization Funds will be subgranted to elementary and secondary schools, as well as institutions of higher education to provide maximum access to distance learning.

“We are ready to do our part to ensure an efficient and safe learning experience for our students as our education partners make the necessary shift to distance learning,” said Lieutenant Governor Tenorio. “We are grateful to our education and telecommunications partners for their input as we put together a plan that addressed the needs of our students, most especially those without steady access to the internet or a computer at home.”

Initiatives include vouchers for students to purchase and access internet services necessary for remote learning. At institutions of higher education, students will be provided rebates or refunds for all or a portion of the technology, internet, and computer student fees charged for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters.

Funds may also be used to develop and enhance programming, such as PBS University, a project collaboration with GDOE which supplements distance education efforts led by teachers. The Guam Public Library System will also receive funds to increase bandwidth to allow increased access to online materials prepared by the GDOE and private schools.

Funds are anticipated to be immediately available for use in the upcoming school year.