Schools, universities would get $90 billion in latest relief bill

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House Democrats unveiled a new COVID-19 relief package Tuesday that includes $90 billion in flexible funding for schools and colleges to help support education during the pandemic and facilitate distance learning.

The previous round of relief funding, passed by Congress in March, made $31 billion available K-12 and higher education institutions to support a variety of learning needs and student resources, including mental health support and internet service. However, considering the high cost of technology and implementing a distance learning model, many educators have argued that schools need more financial support to survive the pandemic and ensure students have access to education.

This new relief bill — the fifth to be introduced to Congress since the beginning of the pandemic — would make an additional $90 billion available to elementary, secondary and public postsecondary institutions that can be used to cover a wide array of costs institutions are faced with, like educational technology, training and professional development for faculty and staff using technology to support distance education and financial aid for to cover the costs of technology for individual students.

Funding can also be used to provide counseling to faculty and students, sanitation for campus facilities and developing emergency response plans for future disasters.

Congress will vote on the new bill Friday.