Texas allocates $200M to TEA for purchase of devices, internet solutions for remote learning

(Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Texas is allocating $200 million in funding from the CARES Act to the Texas Education Agency for the purchase of eLearning devices and home internet solutions to enable remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic for students who lack connectivity.

The state says the funding will be used by the TEA to purchase and distribute devices, hotspots, routers, and more based on specific needs identified by local education agencies.

The funding would be used to establish a reimbursement program with a matching fund component tied to locally controlled Coronavirus Relief Funds or LEA local funding. The state says the funding is in addition to a previously announced distribution of up to $400 million of CRF to reimburse districts for COVID-19 expenses incurred during the 2019-2020 school year. This funding will also establish a reimbursement program for devices and home internet costs incurred by LEAs from May 21st through September 1st. 

"As school districts delay the start of in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19, it is essential that we work to provide Texas students with the devices they need to connect and communicate online for classroom instruction," said Governor Abbott. "As we continue to combat COVID-19 in Texas, we are committed to providing reliable and effective solutions that will help students academically succeed while protecting public health."

Many school districts are offering families the choice of in-person or virtual learning in the fall. Some school district have even announced that the first few weeks of the new school year will be online only.

"While getting our students back to school is our top priority, many local districts are also developing a variety of virtual learning plans to ensure that students do not lose valuable learning time as we continue to fight COVID-19. This funding is an essential step in closing the digital gap for students by making access to technology available to every child who needs it," said Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.