Aug 10, 2022
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided states with funding to cope with COVID-19. School districts around the country used these funds for a variety of purposes authorized by federal laws, such as buying educational technology for online and hybrid classes. Importantly, CARES Act funding must be used by September 30, 2022, which might leave you wondering what to do with the funds that haven't been allocated yet.
With only one month left until September's deadline, Milner can help you figure out what you need and how to use any unallocated funds.
As school districts across the nation get ready for the return of teachers and students for the 2022-23 school year, some may wonder whether technology implemented during the beginning of the pandemic remains relevant in today's classrooms. Despite the fact that most of the educational technologies and updates purchased during the pandemic were designed for remote and hybrid learning environments, educators and experts agree that these tools continue to be valuable in current in-person instruction. CARES Act funding for updated educational technology can be maximized by a managed service provider, such as Milner, who keeps up with the latest technology for the classroom.
When the pandemic hit, the first step was to make sure students had access to devices. One-to-one computing initiatives that promoted the use of a single device per student were therefore popular at the start of the pandemic. Most districts, two years after the epidemic began, are likely not financially prepared for the fact that devices purchased with emergency funds will soon be obsolete or have advanced technological difficulties. If districts stay with 1-to-1 initiatives, they will have to keep fixing and replacing devices, resulting in ongoing costs they may not have the funding for. Managed IT services from Milner for schools can mitigate many of these concerns, both in terms of who will fix devices and how much it will cost.
As educators and school districts work to allocate remaining funds most effectively, they must also consider how to close the digital divide and make educational technology more inclusive and accessible. Many pandemic-era tools, such as large displays and audiovisual devices, continue to support accessible learning. Educators will continue to be able to organize and visualize their class data more easily with Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Google Classroom and others. The availability of advanced connectivity features in devices distributed in the pandemic era will continue to enhance the learning experience for both online and in-person learning and videoconferencing as schools continue to update their infrastructure and future-proof their networks.
In the beginning of the pandemic, safety for schools primarily meant spending funding on personal protective equipment like masks and hand sanitizer. In addition to these essential safety measures, many schools invested in touchless technology, an investment that continues to remain both relevant and beneficial. Milner can help your school with several different touchless technology options including printers and copiers that are touchless across all control systems, as well badge readers and other door- and room-control features to make sure your school environment is as safe and secure as possible.
While the immediacy of the pandemic is over, schools are still benefiting from the enhanced cybersecurity measures put in place early on. Physical as well as environmental safety can be mitigated through Cloud conferencing, BYOD, and other connectivity tools. K-12 institutions have experienced a rise in cyberattacks since 2020, but security features implemented as a result of the pandemic have continued to provide protection. Milner provides valuable expertise in the retention and preservation of documents, data backup and disaster recovery planning, and secure printing strategies to safeguard your school's security in the future.
Due to recent school closures caused by bad weather and other emergencies, administrators, teachers, and parents have a greater need than ever before for immediate communication. With an emergency communication system, schools can send important info and notifications in real-time. Also known as mass notification systems, these systems are capable of informing lots of people when events are canceled, report cards are sent, registration deadlines are approaching, or early dismissals are announced. Notifications can be segmented and sent through a range of channels, including voice, text, email, and mobile app push. Aside from segmenting by channel, messages can also be segmented by audience, so that updates on sports team fields, schedule updates, volunteer requests, tuition payment reminders, fundraiser updates, etc., will only go to those who require them. The result is that school communities are less likely to feel overwhelmed with information they don't need. Our team of technology experts at Milner provides school districts, universities and educational facilities with communication solutions that enhance day-to-day operations while also making life easier for the school's larger community. Reach out for help with mass notification systems or even Wi-fi enabled PA systems which allows for excellent communication coverage anywhere within your institution.