State leaders renew push to provide low-income families supplies needed for atypical school year

Laveta Brigham

State leaders have renewed their push to give low-income families the supplies they need for what is a very atypical school year amid the coronavirus pandemic.Authorities told KOCO 5 that they have about 3,000 grants left, and families would get $1,500 to buy supplies they need for online learning such […]

State leaders have renewed their push to give low-income families the supplies they need for what is a very atypical school year amid the coronavirus pandemic.Authorities told KOCO 5 that they have about 3,000 grants left, and families would get $1,500 to buy supplies they need for online learning such as an iPad or laptop. This is all part of the Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet program.“We want to make sure all those families that could use that are able to get that money,” said Ryan Walters, with Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet program.Walters said the program was created to ensure no students fall behind this year with schools shifting online.“We know here when COVID hit in March, and we moved to digital and distance learning,” he said. “If you’re a low-income student and you don’t have a device or you have very limited supplies when it comes to technology, you’re in a really difficult position.”According to Walters, the program is one of Oklahoma’s initiatives funded by Gov. Kevin Stitt’s emergency education relief fund, which uses money from the federal coronavirus relief bill.“With this money, there’s pre-approved that vendors that offer … they can purchase devices. They can purchase online curriculum. They can purchase all these supplemental supplies,” Walters said.He said only families that fall below the federal poverty line are eligible for the program.“It doesn’t matter where they go to school, what kind of school they go to or anything like that. That’s the only qualifier: They’re K-12 and if they fall into that income level, they’re eligible,” Walters said.

State leaders have renewed their push to give low-income families the supplies they need for what is a very atypical school year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Authorities told KOCO 5 that they have about 3,000 grants left, and families would get $1,500 to buy supplies they need for online learning such as an iPad or laptop. This is all part of the Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet program.

“We want to make sure all those families that could use that are able to get that money,” said Ryan Walters, with Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet program.

Walters said the program was created to ensure no students fall behind this year with schools shifting online.

“We know here when COVID hit in March, and we moved to digital and distance learning,” he said. “If you’re a low-income student and you don’t have a device or you have very limited supplies when it comes to technology, you’re in a really difficult position.”

According to Walters, the program is one of Oklahoma’s initiatives funded by Gov. Kevin Stitt’s emergency education relief fund, which uses money from the federal coronavirus relief bill.

“With this money, there’s pre-approved that vendors that offer … they can purchase devices. They can purchase online curriculum. They can purchase all these supplemental supplies,” Walters said.

He said only families that fall below the federal poverty line are eligible for the program.

“It doesn’t matter where they go to school, what kind of school they go to or anything like that. That’s the only qualifier: They’re K-12 and if they fall into that income level, they’re eligible,” Walters said.

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