3 Ways that COVID-19 Emergency Funds can Help Schools Upgrade Their Educational Technologies
Emergency government funding can help schools upgrade their networks, hardware and software to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s take a look at how this is shaking out in Missouri:
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed in March in response to the pandemic in the U.S., includes the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. ESSER provisions include funding for technologies to improve remote learning and close gaps caused by COVID-19 disruptions. This specifically includes educational technology — hardware, software and networking devices.
The Governors’ Emergency Education Relief Fund also provides cash to K-12 school districts and higher education institutions “most significantly impacted by coronavirus.” For more details on these programs, check out Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act page published by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Between them, these programs can help schools update their technologies to adapt to the current pandemic crisis and improve their technology systems for the long haul. These are three of the ways Essential Network Technologies empowers these upgrades:
Content Filtering and Security
Students studying at home need software to help keep them on task, overcome distractions and avoid malicious/inappropriate content. ENT partners with two of the top innovators in this space, Lightspeed Systems and GoGuardian, which provide a powerful suite of applications for students, parents, teachers and school districts. (See our blog post: 5 Ways Schools and Parents Can Protect Students in the Shift to Online Learning).
As remote learning makes e-mail a more pivotal communication tool, schools need to beef up their security software and harden their security protocols. We partner with Barracuda Networks to help schools keep invaders out of their online systems. (Also on the ENT blog: Spear Phishing: What You Need to Know and How to Fight It)
Schools that have 1-to-1 programs, which assign a laptop computer to each student, require robust software applications to maintain, update and secure their device fleets. Keeping all the software on each device current and limiting the apps students can install on them are just two of the challenges of device management. These devices also have to be replaced when lost, stolen or damaged. Old models must be recycled when they become obsolete.
Wi-Fi Access Points
Remote learning presumes that every student has internet access. As many school districts learned with the rapid shift to online learning amid the pandemic, many students don’t have home internet services. Rural schools often face similar connectivity difficulties. We helped schools respond by expanding Wi-Fi services into their parking lots, where students and parents in cars could access the school’s network.
ENT partners with Extreme Networks to deliver accurate and effective device management and Wi-Fi access points to our school district clients.
The Right Technology Skills for Metro St. Louis Schools
It’s not always easy for school leaders to figure out the best use of their emergency funding. Districts often lack the expertise in building networks and supporting them with the ideal applications and devices for their needs.
Essential Network Technologies has years of in-depth experience helping schools of all sizes in Metro St. Louis optimize, upgrade and secure their educational systems. Our specialists can help school districts choose the right technologies for their specific needs and avoid overspending on tools that aren’t the best fit.
If you’re unsure about the most prudent, forward-looking way to spend your COVID emergency funding, please contact one of our experts today.