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New funding helps schools react to COVID

The Ohio Controlling Board has approved $300 million in federal funding for schools — $200 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund for higher education and $100 million for K-12 schools. That is in addition to hundreds of millions already allocated out of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding and other federal sources during the pandemic. The new funding, approved last week, still desperately is needed, especially by K-12 public schools.

“This funding comes from federal CARES Act dollars to help schools meet their unique individual needs,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement. “We intend for this funding to be very flexible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Now that the Controlling Board has approved the allocation, school districts across the Buckeye State will need that kind of flexibility. Each has a different challenge in facing the upcoming academic year. Rural districts, like those in our region, have internet connectivity and accessibility concerns if students are asked to return to a blended or fully remote education plan.

In fact, the uncertainty presented by recent surges in virus numbers means districts will be grateful to have a little extra money available, as they do not know whether they will need to spend it on personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies for staff, or tablets and Wi-Fi hotspots for students (for starters).

Good for state officials for doing all they can to find the resources our schools need, as the coronavirus-related challenges we had hoped would be fading by now appear as though they may be just getting started.

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