Press Releases

CONGRESSWOMAN STACEY PLASKETT HOLDS EDUCATION DISTANCE LEARNING WEBINAR FOR TERRITORY'S PARENTS AND EDUCATORS

04/14/20, April 14, 2020
Tags: Education

For Immediate Release                                    Contact: Michael J. McQuerry
April 14, 2020                                                       202-215-8524

 

PRESS STATEMENT

 CONGRESSWOMAN STACEY PLASKETT HOLDS EDUCATION DISTANCE LEARNING WEBINAR FOR TERRITORY'S PARENTS AND EDUCATORS

Washington, DC – On Tuesday, April 14, 2020, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett held an Education distance learning webinar with Virgin Islands educators, along with a representative from the Library of Congress, as her guest presenters. Congresswoman Plaskett released the following statement regarding the webinar:

“As our territory and the nation grapples with the new reality of closed schools and stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, I was pleased to be able to host this webinar in order to share valuable information on how the CARES Act affects educational stakeholders along with various programs and resources available. During the webinar, the various presenters provided excellent information on a number of topics, including best practices for distance learning, and creative projects and ideas that parents can do with their children during this time. The Library of Congress staff participated as well, sharing virtual resources available within the Library of Congress’s online portal. 

“While the coronavirus pandemic is revealing new layers of inequity in Education, this also provides us with an opportunity to address educational needs. Education leaders across the nation and in the Virgin Islands are tackling the unexpected challenge of providing distance learning as the primary mode of instruction for weeks, months, and possibly the remainder of the school year. I, along with a dozen members of Congress, have been advocating, sponsoring legislation, writing opinion pieces, and speaking on the need for more funding for Education to tackle challenges as it relates to academic success by closing the digital divide, among other important factors. 

“The CARES Act creates a stabilization fund for K-12 schools and Institutions of Higher Education, including the University of the Virgin Islands. The K-12 education fund reserves one-half of one percent for schools in the small territories of the United States, including the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Northern Mariana.  So, there is a subtotal of $153.75 million for these territories. This funding is to help schools respond to coronavirus and related school closures, meet the immediate needs of students and teachers, improve the use of education technology, support distance education, and make up for lost learning time. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education has estimated that the University of the Virgin Islands will receive approximately $1.7 million from the higher education fund under the CARES Act. At least 50% of that funding must be reserved to provide students emergency financial aid grants.

“The webinar provided attendees with great ideas, resources and even a pep talk for parents like myself taking on the daunting task of being much more hands-on in the educational process of our children.  I am grateful to each of the presenters—Dr. Lisa Hassell-Forde, Dr. Valrica Bryson, Mrs. Zahra O’Reilly Bates, Mrs. Michaelrose Ravalier and Ms. Cheryl Lederle—for their commitment to educational excellence, for their ability to showcase and highlight best practices, principles and recommendations, and for taking the time out of their busy schedule to share the information with our community.”

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