The rise of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic requires solutions. The Cherokee Nation has a plan.
Tribes nationwide are transitioning to distance learning as COVID-19 has caused schools to close their doors and move in-person education to online, or otherwise create a hybrid learning experience, balancing a virtual/classroom model with intentionally staggered attendance.
As if that’s not enough to consider, Tribes also need to take into account access to technology.
As part of the Cherokee Nation’s COVID-19 Respond, Recover and Rebuild spending plan announced by Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. in May, the Nation recently created an online portal where parents can apply for assistance with technology and clothing needs for their children.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit schools, families and students hard in many ways, so we wanted to provide grants for Cherokee children ages 5 to 18 to ease the impact this public health crisis has had on their pursuit of education,” Chief Hoskin said in a release. “Distance learning has taken on even greater importance. Technology is also needed to keep students and teachers safe as the virus continues to spread in our communities. The disruption to our economy caused by the pandemic makes it challenging for students at school to meet the demands of this new education landscape. That’s why I’m pleased to announce the $40 million Respond, Recover and Rebuild Education Initiative to help students and schools stay on track as we continue to deal with COVID-19.”
What will be provided?
- $300 to qualifying low-income students for clothes and a winter coat.
- $150 to students who do not qualify as low income students, to help with clothing needs.
- A $400 technology stipend to all Cherokee students regardless of income.
- $750 grant to each of the more than 5,000 students who have already been approved for the Cherokee Nation’s fall 2020 scholarships.
“Every year, the Cherokee Nation invests in young Cherokees both here in the Tribe’s 14 counties, and across the country, to help them earn a college degree,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “We hope providing our fall 2020 scholarship recipients with an additional $750 will help them stay on track during this difficult time.”
“Most of our programs, of course, are limited to within our Nation’s 14-county borders. But our at-large Council members often remind us that in a health crisis that impacts the entire country, we should look for ways to help people both inside and outside the Cherokee Nation,” Chief Hoskin said. “So, there will be no residency restriction for this one-time, $400 education technology stipend. The funds can help with things like paying for Wi-Fi or specialized software or equipment that may be needed for distance learning.”
Cherokee Nation will also be offering $10,000 grants for education technology, health and safety projects to the 107 public school districts across the Nation.
Eligibility requirements and more can be found on the website. Applications are due before 11:59 p.m. August 7.