Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett issued the following statement on the release of $69.7 million by the U.S. Department of Education to the Virgin Islands from coronavirus relief funding recently enacted by Congress, which will be used to assist local schools and students during the COVID-19 pandemic:
“This $69.7 million in coronavirus relief funding will support efforts to protect the lives and livelihoods of Virgin Islanders. Since the beginning of this pandemic, parents have been counting on federal assistance to help our children and students continue to learn. Our office was hard at work to ensure that the Virgin Islands would receive sufficient funding for those purposes. This funding will be distributed to the Virgin Islands Department of Education and the Governor of the Virgin Islands.
“These funds may be used to help K-12 schools in the Virgin Islands with facility repairs and improvements — including heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems projects to improve indoor air quality in school facilities as well as to facilitate in-school attendance by students. The aid could also be used to address distance education needs and learning loss among students – including among low-income students, children with disabilities, ESL [English as a Second Language] learners, students experiencing homelessness and children and youth in foster care.
“This emergency relief amounts to important progress, which must be built on under the Biden-Harris administration. Next week, Joe Biden enters the White House. It’s my understanding that within the first 100 days additional relief will be a priority, and we will make sure the Virgin Islands continues to be included in any package.”