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PSS to reprogram unspent money to buy additional MiFi devices

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THE Public School System will reprogram $293,503 in unspent federal funds to buy 2,000 additional units of MiFi that will be distributed to students who have no internet connection, PSS federal programs manager Tim Thornburgh said.

In fiscal year 2019, PSS received a $16.8 million consolidated grant of which $25,312 was unspent.

For FY 2020, Thornburgh said the PSS consolidated grant amounted to $17 million. Of this amount, $282,001 was allocated for student competitions, but because many of these events were suspended in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, $268,291 remains unspent.

Board of Education member Philip Mendiola-Long asked Thornburgh about the PSS plan to purchase MiFi devices.

Thornburgh said the PSS technology director is soliciting bids for 2,000 additional MiFi devices.

He said PSS has already procured 3,000 MiFi devices, which will be distributed to students.

“Hopefully, we will have a total of 5,000 devices to enable every child and family who does not have connectivity to have connectivity at home — that is the plan,” Thornburgh said.

Aside from MiFi devices, Thornburgh said PSS will  distribute laptops and iPads to students to facilitate online/remote learning.

PSS said there are restrictions that are preventing its schools from  reopening —  one of them is the six-foot distance rule, which limits the number of students in each classroom. 

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