Nineteen school districts in Riverside County are slated to receive $10 million in federal relief funds for the purchase of digital devices that will aid in distance learning amid the ongoing public health lockdowns, officials announced.
According to the county Office of Education, the allocation was approved by the Board of Supervisors last month as one of several distributions from the county's $431 million allotment of Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act money.
Officials dubbed the campaign to procure electronic devices for students "All for One'' and based it on an assessment of schools' needs that was conducted soon after learning institutions were ordered shut down in March in a unilateral decision by county Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser.
“The campaign was launched ... to provide funds directly to districts to address students' needs related to distance learning,'' said county Superintendent of Schools Judy White. ``As schools prepare to offer hybrid and in-person learning over the coming months, elements of distance learning will remain a necessity ... to ensure continuity of education.''
According to the Office of Education, the funds will cover the cost of 22,865 laptops and tablet devices, as well as the establishment of 13,315 mobile hotspot sites.
“The allocation plan addresses needs within each supervisorial district in Riverside County,” said Deputy Superintendent of Schools Edwin Gomez. “We will continue working with district and charter school leaders to equitably address developing technological challenges faced by all students.”
The following will be recipients of the funds:
- Alvord Unified School District;
- Banning Unified;
- Beaumont Unified;
- Coachella Valley Unified;
- Corona-Norco Unified;
- Desert Center Unified;
- Desert Sands Unified;
- Hemet Unified;
- Jurupa Unified;
- Lake Elsinore Unified;
- Menifee Union School District;
- Moreno Valley;
- Murrieta Valley;
- Palo Verde Unified;
- Perris Elementary School District;
- Perris Union High School District;
- Riverside Unified;
- San Jacinto Unified; and
- Temecula Valley Unified.
Several schools have opened for in-person classes, and others are awaiting waiver approvals from the California Department of Public Health before re-opening.
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Riverside County is among more than three dozen jurisdictions on a CDPH Monitoring List because of coronavirus infection surges in June, and the county remains under state-imposed restrictions, which include a general prohibition on reopening schools.
The state is being sued by a civil liberties group that has challenged the governor's directives on school closures as arbitrary, excessive and detrimental to children's ability to receive basic education.