From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced Friday that $100 million of CARES Act funding would go to address broadband connectivity issues for K-12 students across the state.
The funding will provide vouchers for families of students eligible for free and reduced meals, or other income criteria, according to a press release.
The type of internet service will depend on available networks in an area, but the vouchers will pay for equipment and services through Dec. 30, 2020.
“Despite the upheavals in our lives during the past few months and at least into the near future, children must be able to continue their classroom instruction,” Ivey said. “This funding will expand internet access to allow more students to access distance learning while creating smaller classes in schools that provide those options and will also ensure their safety during the pandemic. While I respect those districts that have elected to use remote learning, I fear that a slide will come by keeping our kids at home. These funds will bridge the gap until all students can get back into the classroom as soon as possible.”
Families with children who receive free or reduced school lunch will be notified via a mailed letter in August with the program expected to run August through Dec. 30, 2020, in accordance with CARES Act guidelines. A program website to assist Alabamians with questions as the program nears its launch can be found here.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the federal CARES Act funding for the program.