Secretary DeVos Rapidly Delivers More Than $6 Billion in Emergency Cash Grants for College Students Impacted by Coronavirus Outbreak
First wave of CARES Act funding will provide aid to students for expenses like course materials, technology, housing, food, health care, and childcare
WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced today more than $6 billion will be distributed immediately to colleges and universities to provide direct emergency cash grants to college students whose lives and educations have been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. The funding is available through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump less than two weeks ago.
“What’s best for students is at the center of every decision we make,” said Secretary DeVos. “That’s why we prioritized getting funding out the door quickly to college students who need it most. We don’t want unmet financial needs due to the coronavirus to derail their learning.”
The CARES Act provides nearly $14 billion to support postsecondary education students and institutions. Colleges and universities are required to utilize the $6.28 billion made available today to provide cash grants to students for expenses related to disruptions to their educations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, including things like course materials and technology as well as food, housing, health care, and childcare. In order to access the funds, the Department must receive a signed certification from the higher education institution affirming they will distribute the funds in accordance with applicable law. The college or university will then determine which students will receive the cash grants.
School allocations are set by formula prescribed in the CARES Act that is weighted significantly by the number of full-time students who are Pell-eligible but also takes into consideration the total population of the school and the number of students who were not enrolled full-time online before the coronavirus outbreak. The Department is utilizing the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and Federal Student Aid (FSA) for this calculation.
Institutions will receive allocations and guidance for the institutional share of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund in the coming weeks. Institutions will be able to use these funds to cover costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.
Additional information on institution-level funding for students, including data tables, can be found here. The Secretary’s letter to college and university presidents with additional information on this funding allocation can be found here.
The funding allocations announced today are part of the nearly $31 billion Congress allocated to the Department to distribute to students, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions under the CARES Act. The Department, at the Secretary’s urging, is working to make funds available as quickly as possible.
Under the Secretary’s leadership, the Department has taken quick action to support higher education students from the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Colleges and universities were given immediate regulatory flexibility so students’ educations could continue online. The Secretary also provided student loan relief to tens of millions of borrowers by setting all federally held student loan interest rates to zero percent and allowing borrowers to defer payments for 60 days without interest. The CARES Act extends those benefits to six months. The Department also stopped all federal wage garnishments and collections actions for borrowers with federally held loans in default.
The Department continues to update ed.gov/coronavirus with information for students, parents, educators and local leaders about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For more information about COVID-19, please visit the following websites: coronavirus.gov, cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html, and usa.gov/coronavirus.
REID STATE TECHNICAL COLLEGE TO CONDUCT CLASSES AND OPERATIONS REMOTELY AS A PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE AGAINST COVID-19
Evergreen, AL (March16, 2020) – Reid State Technical College will temporarily cease on-campus classes and events beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. This decision is made as a precautionary measure, as the college puts the safety of its students first and adheres, to the Alabama Community College System’s (ACCS) decision to temporarily discontinue on-campus instruction across the state. Instructors will adhere to alternative instruction methods and are working with students to ensure best practices.
“We have a duty to keep our students safe and do as much as possible to minimize the risk of this virus,” said Interim President Jeff Rhodes. “Instructors for each of the college’s 11 programs have developed contingency plans that best fit the college’s technical programs fully considering circumstances that might make this a challenge for our students,” said Dean of Instruction /Workforce Development Dr. Coretta Boykin. Reid State’s programs of instruction are the following: Industrial Electricity & Electronics (ILT), Industrial Maintenance (INT), Business Administration Technology (BUS), Phlebotomy (HPS), Nursing Assistant (NAS), Practical Nursing (PN), Commercial Truck Driving (TRK), Cosmetology (COS), Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and Adult Education (AE). Students are being advised to check their student email as well as online learning platforms for course updates and instructions on how to proceed remotely.
The college is working diligently to keep students, staff and faculty safe. Literature about proper hand washing and COVID-19 symptoms is posted on the college website, social media and throughout the campus. The campus will observe spring break beginning March 23rd - March 27, 2020. No remote course instruction is expected.
For additional information, please visit www.rstc.edu. or contact Dean of Instruction/Workforce Development Dr. Coretta Boykin at 251-578-1313.
Reid State to Discontinue On-Site Instruction as a precautionary measure of COVID-19
Attention All Reid State Students:
As a precautionary measure, Reid State Technical College will discontinue on-site instruction beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020 through April, 3, 2020 amid the threat of COVID-19.
Courses will be offered through alternative instructional methods, such as online or other teaching formats. Please continue to check your student email and Canvas account for course updates and instruction on how to proceed with remote classes from your instructors.
Guidance for Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19
Issued by the Alabama Department of Public Health for All State Post-Secondary Schools and the State Department of Education
The 2019 novel coronavirus is a virus that causes a potentially severe respiratory disease, COVID-19. It was recently identified in China and is now being detected worldwide. The situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) considers an individual being anywhere in China, or a country with active community transmission within the previous 14 days, a risk factor for COVID-19. ADPH is communicating with travelers returning from China to provide guidance about limiting public interactions for 14 days, which is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) current guidance for returning travelers. However, this is an evolving situation and more geographic areas may be added soon.
Students and staff returning from China or areas with active community transmission:
Students and staff returning from China or areas with active community transmission (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers) may have been exposed to COVID-19 and must self-monitor symptoms for 14 days after leaving the affected area. Students and staff must contact ADPH Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks Division at 1-800-338-8374 immediately upon return to Alabama. These students and staff must be excluded from school for the duration of this monitoring period. They are asked to remain home and to avoid congregate group settings such as church, concerts, buses, etc.
After the 14-day self-monitoring period, ADPH provides notice to the individual indicating completion of the required monitoring period, upon request.
Students or staff members who return from an affected area who develop symptoms compatible with C OVID-19 such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing within their 14-day monitoring period, should take the following steps:
1. Separate themselves from others as much as possible. Immediately notify ADPH Infectious Diseases & Outbreaks Division at 1-800-338-8374.
2. If they experience an urgent health situation, seek medical care right away. Before going to a doctor's office or emergency room, call ahead and tell staff about recent travel and symptoms.
3. Restrict travel to private vehicle or medical transport (e.g., ambulance). No public transportation while sick.
Persons who become symptomatic will require written physician clearance to return to school. Additional guidance from CDC on returning travelers is available at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/risk-assessment.html.
Students and staff without a history of travel or contact to a person with known COVID-19:
It is important that students and staff without a history of travel or contact to a person with known COVID-19 take every day preventative actions:
a. Stay home when sick.
1. Students and staff who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are asked to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° CJ or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).
2. Seek immediate medical care if symptoms become severe, such as high fever or difficulty breathing.
b. Encourage students and staff to use "respiratory etiquette" through education and provision of supplies.
1. Cover cough with a tissue or sleeve. See CDC's Cover Your Cough page. (www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm).
2. Provide adequate supplies within easy reach, including tissues and no-touch trash cans.
3. Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects.
4. Separate sick students and staff from others until they can go home.
5. Encourage flu vaccine for those who have not had it this season to reduce illnesses and absences on campus (however, this will not prevent coronavirus illnesses).
6. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
7. Avoid touching face with unwashed hands.
8. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
For additional information, please contact ADPH at (334) 206-5971 or visit the ADPH website at http://alabamapublichealth.gov/infectiousdiseases/2019-coronavirus.html.