More than $172 million in financial support will be awarded to the U.S. territories and freely associated states to help their respective education systems respond to Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced Tuesday.
The sum of $166.65 million will be distributed to Guam, CNMI, American Samoa and U.S. Virgin Island. FAS, including Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands will get a share of $6.38 million.
The Covid-19 relief grant, which has been made available through the Education Stabilization Fund and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, will be distributed to elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools, including students to help the territories and the FAS mitigate the impact of pandemic.
The public health emergency declarations issued by territorial and Pacific island governments entailed the closure of commercial establishments and government agencies as well as schools. The public health emergency declarations have extended through May 30. While schools remain shut down for the rest of the school year, the education stem has adopted distance learning.
“The funding made available today has very few bureaucratic strings attached and empowers education leaders to focus on doing what’s best for their students during this pandemic,” said U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. ADVERTISEMENT
“The administration is committed to the success of students in the insular areas, and it is my hope that this additional funding will provide the support needed to expand technological, distance learning, training and long-term planning capabilities that will ensure learning continues.”
The fund is provided for under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (The CARES Act, P.L.116-136), as signed by President Trump on March 26.
“We are pleased to see that such significant support for education has been provided to the territories and the FAS during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Assistant Secretary Doug Domenech. “Schools and administrators in the island areas will need to move quickly and judiciously to ensure that the funds are used effectively to meet all the needs of the public schools and students.”