Louisiana public schools will receive $2.6 billion from the latest COVID relief bill, in addition to the $1.4 billion they’ve already received in federal assistance dollars. State Education Superintendent Cade Brumley said part of the money will go towards helping schools pay for the COVID protocols.

“And that’s expensive to do. You need more space, you need more bus routes, you need more sanitation efforts. So, first and foremost with the dollars, we have to make sure that we’re open for face-to-face instruction,” said Brumley.

Brumley said currently more than 70% of the schools are open to face-to-face instruction.

Brumley said after covering the added expenses to keep schools open safely during the pandemic, they will invest in recovery learning to help students catch up due to the hardships of COVID.

“And robust summer programming for families and looking at tutoring opportunities and looking at ways to support mental health for children and still the digital divide that exists across our state,” said Brumley.

Approximately 25% of students in Louisiana do not have access to the internet in their homes.

Brumley said he will also offer a level of public transparency, so the public understands how they are spending the funds.

A large portion of the funding is to be dedicated to recovery learning so students can stay on grade level. Brumley said he believes in teachers and their ability for tutoring programs and is asking school systems to reimagine summer school as more of a summer camp experience.

(Story written by Brooke Thorington/Louisiana Radio Network)

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