At a press conference on July 23 at the Gore Community Center in Jennings, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced that $4 million in federal CARES Act funding is being earmarked for use by the St. Louis County Library to establish a Digital Equity Initiative aimed at enabling virtual education.
The funds will be used to provide Chromebooks, wi-fi hotspots and virtual tutoring services to students and school districts in St. Louis County. The Library will work with local school districts to distribute the devices.
St. Louis County Library is part of the COVID-19 Regional Response Team. As the lead agency for remote learning and technology, the Library has worked with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, area superintendents and educators, community partners and the Nine Network to identify new ways to assist area families during the pandemic.
In April 2020, St. Louis County Library distributed 221 PBS Kids Playtime Pads to Ritenour and Hancock Place School Districts. Each device came preloaded with PBS content, including video clips, songs, educational games and apps. The devices did not require internet access. In 2019, the Library provided 100 wi-fi hotspots to students at Ritenour High School.