FILE — Virus Outbreak Education Funding

Students and instructors gather on a video call for remote instruction.

(The Center Square) – Schools and libraries in New Jersey will receive $20.9 million from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) as part of the agency’s second round of Emergency Connectivity Fund Program (ECF) funding.

Last month, the agency sent Garden State schools and libraries $33.4 million as part of the ECF’s first round of funding. The $7.17 billion ECF program was created by the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

“This funding, like the awards approved last month, will help students with virtual learning, which will remain a crucial tool long after the COVID-19 pandemic is over,” U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said in an announcement. “This funding is a critical investment in the future of young people in our state, and I will continue to work to ensure that access to broadband and technology is not a barrier to learning for any student.”

Last week, the FCC announced it was allocating more than $1.1 billion to 2,471 schools, 205 libraries and 26 consortia nationwide applying for funds under the program. That follows more than $1.2 billion the federal agency allocated in September.

“This new round of funding will connect even more students and library patrons with new tools for online learning and communicating with teachers in our ongoing work to close the Homework Gap,” FCC acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in an announcement.