Additional $3.5M in CARES funds to expand internet access for county students

in Community/Education

An additional $3.5 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding will expand high-speed internet access and provide technology tools for disadvantaged students in San Mateo County, county officials announced Tuesday.

In August, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors launched the “Public Internet Connectivity Pilot Project” with $2.88 million in CARES Act funds that targeted students in the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District, Ravenswood City School District, Redwood City School District and Sequoia Union High School District.

The infusion of an additional $3.5 million in funding will expand the program to additional areas of San Mateo County where the need is greatest,” the county said. The effort will potentially provide laptops to disadvantaged students and free public WiFi hotspots in select neighborhoods.

“The goal is to help thousands of local students who are distance learning gain access to the technology they need to succeed in the 21st Century information economy,” the county said.

On Tuesday, the Board also allocated $2 million in CARES Act funds to Second Harvest of Silicon Valley to expand food assistance to vulnerable county residents through the end of the year; another $2 million in Measure K funds to the San Mateo County Immigrant Relief Fund to provide grants to residents not eligible for federal relief; and another $2.5 million in CARES Act funds to support lower-income small business owners in target areas of the county that are directly and adversely impacted by COVID-19.