Weekly NewsBrief 7/20/20 - 7/26/20

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Georgia DOE will help more than 12 million students with distance learning – By Stephanie Toone, Atlanta Journal Constitution

More than 12 million students in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) public schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia will benefit from Verizon’s sponsor-state agreement with GaDOE to provide those school systems with discounted service plans for unlimited 4G LTE Internet access, mobile device management (MDM) and Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)-compliant security applications.

With all of Georgia’s 181 districts having the option to purchase the plans, more than 1.7 million Georgia students could have an enhanced digital learning experience due to the partnership, Meghan Frick, Georgia DOE communications director, said Thursday.

“As a nation and as an educational community, we are truly in this together as we respond to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement. “This partnership allows us to come together with other states to leverage buying power and deliver connectivity solutions for our students.”

Access to a reliable 4G LTE Internet connection can help build a more equitable educational system long-term since a lack of Internet access can impact students’ ability to attend classes virtually. Thousands of students in each of the 10 states will begin the upcoming school year from home, while the country awaits more progress in the fight against COVID-19.

 

States Partner to Reskill Workers – By Madeline St. Amour, Inside Higher Ed

A coalition of states is coming together to help reskill workers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing recession that left 11.1 percent of workers unemployed in June.

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the American Association of Community Colleges on Tuesday launched the Reskilling and Recovery Network, which will include 20 states, according to a news release. The Lumina Foundation and the Siemens Foundation are supporting the effort.

State and community college institutional leaders from Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin will work together to offer targeted assistance and find strategies to help workers.

The Reskilling and Recovery Network will target more vulnerable populations that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, including women and communities of color. States will work in a collaborative network to strategize, engage employers to partner with community colleges, have access to tools from their peers and experts from the participating organizations, and have access to technical assistance for virtual activities.

 

LOUISIANA TO AWARD NEARLY $11 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDING TO CHILD CARE PROVIDERS IMPACTED BY PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS, LA Department of Education

The Louisiana Department of Education today announced it would award nearly $11 million in federal funding to child care providers in a third round of grants (will open in new tab) to offset the financial impacts of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The funding is intended to support early learning sites that safely remained open or reopened during this unprecedented time. This round of grants will include an additional amount for providers serving children in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).

The funding stems from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act. The awards will benefit nearly 700 child care providers statewide who participate in CCAP, and in turn, serve over 46,000 children birth through age 13.

"For many in Louisiana, quality child care is the key factor in returning to work and providing for their family," said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. "These funds help support those educators who care for our youngest children. Our early childhood centers have been serving our essential workers, who in turn are on the frontlines of our health crisis. It's only right that we are there for them."

The grant awards represent the third round of this particular aid. These grants are available as the state continues forward on its Roadmap to a Resilient Louisiana (will open in new tab), the Governor's plan for safely reopening the state.


 

Virtual academy draws nearly half of district’s students – By the Associated Press

Nearly half of the students in North Carolina’s Wake County have signed up for the public school district’s virtual academy to avoid in-person instruction this fall.

The Wake Virtual Academy received 78,792 applications, far exceeding expectations, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

The Wake County school board also voted unanimously on Tuesday to begin the school year with online learning for all students, with in-person instruction to follow when practical.

Some parents and teachers in the district, the state’s largest with 162,000 students, want online classes only for safety reasons as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. But other families say the high demand for the virtual academy should make it easier to reopen schools for remaining students. Tuesday’s board decision means the academy’s enrollment window, previously closed on Monday, will reopen briefly next week.

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