Tennessee receiving $81M in federal COVID-19 education money

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced Tuesday that the state’s K-12 schools and higher education institutions are receiving an $81 million round of federal money in response to the new coronavirus pandemic.

Lee’s office says the federal money includes $11 million in reopening grants for K-12 schools, ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 each.

The funding also includes $50 million for K-12 schools that can be used on wi-fi devices, laptops or other devices needed to support reopening through distance learning.

Another $20 million in grants will be available to public and nonprofit private higher education institutions to help with social distancing and make technological improvements for distance learning.

The announcement came after Lee spoke on a conference call with Vice President Mike Pence, some other governors and federal officials. On the call, Lee said the state’s efforts are “focused heavily on ensuring that as many schools and as many districts open their schools in person.”

Additionally, Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn and Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey drew invites to the White House on Tuesday to talk with President Donald Trump, Pence and other federal leaders about efforts to reopen schools during COVID-19.