The 2020 school year changed the face of the classroom for students and teachers alike. While many schools have now begun to open their classrooms for in-person learning, the emerging COVID-19 variants have caused several schools to reconsider their plan for the fall semester. It’s important to know what changes are being made and how the government relief funds aid in the transition.
What Funds Are Available?
The American Rescue Plan was announced in March 2021 and provides $122 billion in relief for K-12 schools. These funds can be used by schools to support students and teachers in a variety of ways, including providing them with sufficient devices and technology to enable remote learning.
How To Use the Funds To Support Remote Learners
The Pflugerville school district in Texas has allocated $1.6 million from local revenue and $1 million from its federal relief funds to establish a yearlong virtual academy. There are a variety of ways the funding can be used to support remote learning.
- Cybersecurity: Every student’s personal information is stored on the school systems database and could be accessed if not properly protected. Setting up real-time monitoring, endpoint protection, and a staff member or team to oversee the IT security will aid in protecting all school attendees.
- Network Connectivity: Without a strong internet signal, remote learning will cause much frustration for students and teachers. Schools can invest in upgrading the Wi-Fi network access points in their districts and fund training to better manage how to scale networks more efficiently.
- Reduce Complex Technology: A rush to remote learning may have uncovered a complex web of IT inventory that can be simplified and upgraded to better enable a smooth classroom environment. Using funding to migrate to a cloud service and optimizing their infrastructure can help the IT department manage the many aspects of maintaining online learning.
Why Use Funding to Support Remote Learning
Along with the Pflugerville school district, many schools have chosen to give parents and students the choice to learn remotely. This is enabling those that are not currently able to go to school the opportunity to continue this vital education. Schools can use the federal relief funds to support these students and aid the teachers to provide the best education possible.