MANSFIELD -- Richland County commissioners are expected to vote Tuesday on a proposal that would provide 1,201 mobile hotspots for local schools as districts reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commissioner Tony Vero said Monday that he is proposing the county allot up to $500,000 from its CARES Act relief funds to help facilitate mobile learning in local schools, many of which may reopen with some mixture of in-person and online classes.
He said the county's commitment would supply the hotspots for two years for each district with an anticipated cost of $437,260. The cost is about $15.17 per month per hotspot on a two-year commitment, Vero said.
Richland County has received $2,045,346 in federal CARES Act funds that were passed through the state government. Vero said that number could go up by as much as $4 million more as the state releases additional funds.
Vero worked with local superintendents of public and private schools to determine how many mobile hotspots are needed in each district to assist students without internet access.
Vero said he and the districts are working with the North Central Ohio Computer Cooperative and also T-Mobile on the project. Each district will have its own account for the effort.
According to a list provided by Vero, the hotspots would be supplied to:
-- Clear Fork Local Schools -- 175
-- Crestview Local Schools -- 30
-- Lexington Local Schools -- 100
-- Lucas Local Schools -- 10
-- Madison Local Schools -- 225
-- Mansfield City Schools -- 200
-- Ontario Local Schools -- 25
-- Plymouth-Shiloh Schools -- 45
-- Shelby Local Schools -- 125
-- Mansfield Christian School -- 40
-- Sacred Heart Catholic School -- 30
-- St. Mary of the Snow Catholic School -- 10
-- Shelby St. Mary's Catholic School -- 26
-- Mansfield St. Peter's Catholic School -- 50
-- GOAL Digital Academy -- 50
-- Richland School of Academic Arts -- 40
-- Mansfield IMAC Academy -- 20
If the proposal is approved, the hotspots would be ordered Wednesday and would arrive in time for the start of the school year, Vero said.