FAYETTEVILLE – During their regular board meeting Monday, the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement between Cumberland County and the Cumberland County Board of Education to support remote learning facilities at Cumberland County Public Library locations for the school-age children of county employees.
The commissioners also approved a budget amendment to allocate $250,000 of Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) funds for nonprofit community-based organizations to operate virtual learning centers for other school-age children in the community. A Request for Proposals will be released soon for groups to apply for those funds.
In August, County Manager Amy Cannon presented to commissioners the idea of establishing virtual learning centers at public libraries to address the impact of employees unable to report to work because they are at home with their school-age children.
“We reported that Child Support Court had to be canceled due to staff members on leave with children who were starting virtual learning. We have other departments that provide these critical services with staff on emergency leave, such as employees in the Health Department who are responsible for contact tracing and employees at the Department of Social Services who are processing benefits such as Medicaid to the most vulnerable members of our community,” Cannon said Monday.
The temporary Virtual Learning Center is being proposed “out of a dire need to ensure that critical and needed services can be provided without delay or disruption,” Cannon said.
Of the 126 employees who applied for the program, 80% work at either the Department of Social Services, the Public Health Department, Sheriff’s Office, Child Support, Animal Control or Emergency Services. Six of the eight public libraries will be used (Headquarters, Cliffdale, Bordeaux, East Regional, North Regional and Hope Mills) and approximately 160 children are expected to participate. The anticipated start date is Oct. 12.
Under the agreement, Cumberland County Schools will provide lunches and snacks for the children and assign staff members to assist with the operations of the sites.
The meeting’s agenda is available online at co.cumberland.nc.us. The meeting will be rebroadcast on Fayetteville/Cumberland Educational TV (FCETV), Spectrum Channel 5, Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Friday at 10:30 a.m. The meeting can also be viewed online at youtube.com/CumberlandCountyNC.