By Jason Schaumburg
(The Center Square) – A $2.2 billion COVID-19 relief bill that provides $1.6 billion to help North Carolina schools reopen was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Roy Cooper.
Senate Bill 36, which allocates federal funding, also provides money for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and rental assistance. It also extends the deadline for parents to apply for one-time grants to help offset the cost of remote learning.
“This pandemic continues to strain communities across our state, and this investment of federal funds in critical areas will help us defeat COVID-19 and build back a stronger and more resilient North Carolina,” Cooper said in statement.
The Senate and House unanimously approved the bill last week.
The $1.6 billion allocated for schools is earmarked for North Carolina public and charter K-12 schools to reopen safely and for other COVID-19-related costs.
The Senate also passed Senate Bill 37 on Tuesday. It would fully reopen K-12 schools in North Carolina for in-person learning for the remainder of the school year. The House started consideration of the bill Wednesday.
The COVID-19 relief legislation also provides $94.7 million to support the state’s vaccination efforts. More than $546 million is set aside to help residents pay rent and utilities. Another $155 million is allocated for local governments with more than 200,000 residents.
The deadline for parents to apply for a $335 grant to help cover costs associated with remote learning was extended until May 31 under the bill. The previous deadline for the Extra Credit Grant program was Oct. 15. Of the $440 million allocated for the program, about $80 million still is available.
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.