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Toomey Cuts Through Red Tape to Help Pottstown School District

April 30, 2020

Allentown, Pa. -U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has secured a commitment from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) ensuring that students in the Pottstown School District can use laptops purchased through federal funding for at-home learning.

Through the DOE's 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program, Pottstown School District recently purchased 200 laptop computers for after-school usage. When Pennsylvania ordered schools to close in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the school district sought to assign these laptops to students to better facilitate at-home learning. Unfortunately, the district was constrained by the grant's parameters.

In response, Senator Toomey's office worked with state Senator Bob Mensch and the Pottstown School District to urge the DOE to grant regulatory flexibility for all schools and districts, given the extraordinary circumstances. Yesterday, the DOE changed its guidance and issued a new clarification to allow for the reallocation of federally purchased resources based on need, such as the laptops in Pottstown.

"With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing schools across the commonwealth to remain closed, school districts are pivoting to online learning as a way to keep students engaged," said Senator Toomey. "I was happy to help the Pottstown School District cut through the red tape to ensure their students have access to at-home learning. I thank Senator Mensch, the Pottstown School District, and the U.S. Department of Education for working with me on this matter."

"The COVID-19 pandemic has everyone across our state facing many unprecedented circumstances," said Senator Mensch. "With schools closing before the end of the school year, districts had to adjust the ways in which they taught their students. Online learning is in place to keep students active and learning, similar to the way they would if schools were still open. It was of utmost importance that the students at Pottstown School District had access to what they needed to have a successful rest of their year. I was happy to assist in making this happen, alongside Senator Toomey, and appreciate the U.S. Department of Education for issuing this imperative exemption."