Feb 10, 2021 - Technology

Democrats plan $7.6B for remote learning in COVID package

Illustration of a computer mouse with a knotted cord shaped like a dollar sign

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats want a $7.6 billion fund to help schools and libraries pay for students' distance learning costs as part of the latest COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: Despite some progress, an estimated 12 million students lack sufficient internet or the devices necessary to participate in virtual learning while schools are closed during the pandemic.

Details: Late Tuesday, House Energy & Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone announced the provision as part of the committee's legislative recommendations for the COVID budget reconciliation legislation.

  • The provision would establish a $7.6 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund for schools and libraries to pay for internet service, hotspots and other devices for students and teachers to use the internet at home.
  • The Federal Communications Commission would be tasked with implementing the fund.

What's next: E&C will mark up the recommendations Thursday.

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