September 3, 2020

Cameron Foundation launches Schools Reopening Grant Program for area school systems

PETERSBURG, VA — The Cameron Foundation announces a new COVID-related grant program to assist area school systems with safely reopening their schools and further closing the digital divide for more than 32,500 students in the region. In its August meeting, the Foundation’s Board of Directors approved up to $350,000 in new funding to mitigate COVID-related expenses in the 2020-21 academic year with creation of the Schools Reopening Grant Program.

This new commitment builds on the Foundation’s previous awards totaling $314,355 in emergency funding to school systems in the spring, when traditional in-class learning came to a halt due to the COVID-19 crisis. Recipients of Cameron’s School System Technology Infrastructure Grants used the funds to extend internet connectivity and to purchase both Chromebooks and laptops, providing at least 1,500 students access to virtual learning to close out the 2019-2020 school year.

“When COVID-19 began causing disruptions in our local school systems, our foundation quickly stepped forward to assist these divisions in addressing technological gaps during their shift to online instruction,” noted Board Chair Pam Martin Comstock. “Now, as the pandemic persists and these school systems must begin the new school year, we recognize the range of needs that they are once again facing,” Comstock explained.

Under the new program, each division in the Tri-Cities area is eligible for a grant of up to $50,000. The localities include the cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights, and Hopewell; the counties of Dinwiddie, Prince George, and Sussex; as well as the portion of Chesterfield County lying south of Route 10.

Cameron President J. Todd Graham explained, “Because some school systems are beginning the academic year via virtual learning and others are using a hybrid model that includes in-person learning, this new round of funding was designed to support both options. Either way, our research suggests that our local schools can benefit from this additional grant assistance.”

Cameron funds may be used for expenses such as:

  • Personal Protective Equipment for students and staff
  • Soap and hand sanitizer
  • Social distancing expenses, such as plexiglass barriers
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Additional classroom supplies
  • Upgrades to HVAC equipment
  • Portable air cleaners
  • Equipment to monitor ventilation and filtration performance
  • No contact infrastructure
  • Contact tracing
  • Isolation rooms for individuals who become ill
  • Viral and antibody testing
  • Planning for response to COVID-19 cases
  • Hardware in support of remote learning options, such as webcams, Chromebooks and internet hotspots
  • Software in support of remote learning options
  • Remote learning training for teachers

Eligible school divisions have been notified of this new grant opportunity. The application deadline is September 30, 2020, and requests are being reviewed on an ongoing basis.

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