On May 4, Governor Roy Cooper passed House Bill 1043 that appropriates $1.57 billion of the $3.5 billion in federal coronavirus funds from the CARES Act. In response to COVID-19, digital inclusion-related funding is outlined below:
The NC Department of Public Instruction will receive:
- $1,000,000 to install extended reach mobile Wi-Fi gateway router devices in school buses. May not be used for subscription services.
- $11,000,000 to provide community and home mobile Internet access points. May not be used for subscription services.
- $30,000,000 to purchase computers or other electronic devices for use by students and $5,000,000 for devices for use by school personnel. Funds will be allocated to local school administrative units, charter schools, regional schools, and other elementary or secondary schools operated by the State Board of Education.
- $4,500,000 to establish a statewide shared cybersecurity infrastructure and for district cybersecurity monitoring and support in consultation with the School Connectivity Initiative.
- $10,000,000 for contracted services for school health support personnel (i.e.,counselors, nurses, psychologists, social workers) to provide additional physical and mental health support services for students in response to COVID-19, including remote and in-person physical and mental health support services.
The NC Community College System will receive:
- $25,000,000 to be allotted to community college campuses, some of which may be used to enhance online learning capacity and cover increased costs associated with moving to online education for students and to cover expenses for expanded demands on information technology, including devices for campuses in rural areas.
The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina will receive:
- $44,400,000 to be allocated to constituent institutions, some of which may be used to cover increased costs related to moving coursework and exams online, to implement a digital learning accelerator,and to cover necessary eligible expenses for assistance to students and employees, including counseling services and information technology support.
- $20,000,000 to the State Education Assistance Authority to help students in private post-secondary education transition to online education and to provide funds for students and families impacted by COVID-19.
The NC Department of Health and Human Services will receive:
- $50,000,000 for rural and underserved communities most impacted by the COVID–19 pandemic. These emergency, flexible funds will support health provider grants, targeted Medicaid assistance for rural hardship grants to non-hospital providers, enhanced telehealth services, transportation for critical services, health care security for the uninsured, the Office of Minority Health, and related items.
The NC Office of State Budget and Management will receive:
- Funds to help hospitals offset expenses incurred for providing patient care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of which may include costs associated with planning, training, and implementing expanded telehealth capabilities:
- $65,000,000 to establish the COVID-19 Rural Hospitals Relief Fund. Eligible critical access hospitals can receive at least $350,000 and eligible hospitals located in a tier 1 or tier 2 county can receive at least $250,000.
- $15,000,000 to establish the COVID-19 Teaching Hospitals Relief Fund. The state’s five teaching hospitals will each receive $3,000,000.
- $15,000,000 for the General Hospitals Relief Fund. These funds will be available to hospitals not included above.
The NC Department of Information Technology will receive:
$9,000,000 for the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Fund to provide supplementary project funding to enable funding for all qualifying GREAT program applications received on or before April 1, 2020, that meet the criteria.