Maine has received an additional $17 million in federal coronavirus relief aid to be used to design and pilot new models for remote learning.

The $16.9 million award, announced this week by the U.S. Department of Education, is made possible through a Rethink K-12 Education Models grant competition launched by the department in April and funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act.

Maine is one of 11 states to receive the grant funding and will be using it for professional development, a pilot program and support for schools in developing remote learning models.

The Maine Department of Education will be partnering with the University of Maine and other higher education institutions on research and design. Page Nichols, chief innovation officer, said the department has identified four strategies to be incorporated into the remote learning models that are developed: outdoor education, multiple and flexible pathways, extended learning opportunities and online learning.

“This project does not represent an indication that remote learning is here to stay but rather it supports and encourages agility, adaptability, and perpetual innovation within our public education system,” Nichols said in an email Thursday.

The department said in a written release that it will be reaching out to districts and educators in the coming weeks on ways to participate.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, advocated for the grant as a member of the education and appropriations committees.

“Educators throughout Maine have truly gone above and beyond to adapt their teaching methods in response to the pandemic, helping students to continue to achieve their educational goals,” Collins said in a news release.

The grant funding, totaling $180 million across the 11 states that received awards, is part of $30.75 billion allocated for education in the CARES Act. Maine has already received close to $44 million through CARES for direct reimbursements to school districts for virus-related costs and $9.3 million as part of an emergency education relief fund for governors, part of which was used to fund devices and wireless service contracts for students last spring.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story