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St. Louis County schools to receive funding to help bridge digital divide

More school districts in the area are moving toward all-virtual instruction

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Schools across St. Louis County will receive funds to purchase technology that can help close the "digital divide" as more districts move to either all-virtual or partially-virtual instruction to begin the school year.

About $4 million dollars in CARES Act funds will be distributed to school districts, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced during a press conference Thursday afternoon. 

Jennings School District Superintendent Dr. Art McCoy said his district would receive $200,000-$500,000 in funding. If his district received the higher end of the funding, every child could receive an internet hotspot and children in younger grade levels would receive an iPad or another type of tablet.

"This money helps us to support the three Cs," McCoy said. "More computers to close the digital divide, more connectivity and more adult support to be coaches – academic coaches for learning and life coaches for this COVID situation."

The Jennings district has already started implementing measures for virtual learning and sanitation protocols during its summer school session. So far, McCoy said he has not had cases in his district.

"If you open up, you have to assume COVID is in your building," he said.

But the leader of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force Dr. Alex Garza warned the rise in cases means the school year could be "in jeopardy."

"I can tell you that 40 admissions a day in hospitals is alarming," he said.

The St. Louis County Library system is also working to provide access to online learning resources and one-on-one tutoring for students.

Press conference from Jennings.

Posted by County Executive Sam Page on Thursday, July 23, 2020

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