State OKs $10M to help supply schools for reopening

by Victor Corral Martinez
Staff Writer | July 30, 2020 1:00 AM

Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee approved $10 million to equip schools with supplies needed to reopen safely.

The use of the funds will be given to schools to buy 3-ply disposable masks, nitrile gloves, hand sanitizer and plexiglass sheets.

There would be $3.6 million for disposable masks, $3.6 million for gloves, $1.8 million for hand sanitizer and the rest for plexiglass barriers; the estimated cost is based on a nine-month plan 720 schools in Idaho.

According to Little’s press release, “Between direct federal support for schools and the Governor’s actions through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a total of $122.2 million has been committed to K-12 public education for the next school year.”

Idaho remains in stage four of the reopening plan; it has consistently failed to stay below the threshold to reopen fully.

In a study conducted by New-York based FDR Research suggests, “About 1 in 4 parents say their homes needed better internet and more devices for learning during the school closure.”

According to the survey, parents desire a return to normalcy and school as soon as it is safe again. Over 81% of Idahoan parents plan to send their children back to school.

In a press release from Superintendent of Public Instruction, Sherri Ybarra, prioritizing funding for a learning management system, with $3.8 million, has been granted from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.

“Each district or charter school must invest in a Learning Management System to support delivery of content and curriculum and facilitate communication between teachers, students and their parents,” Ybarra said.

According to Little’s press release, “resources have been directed to K-12 public education, including $33.8 million to support blended learning, $3.2 million for the Idaho Digital Learning Academy, $4 million to cover personal protective equipment in schools and costs associated with moving to online learning, $1 million for remote student mental health support, and $6 million for additional K-12 support such as K-3 reading remediation and remote STEM education opportunities.”