The COVID-19 Community Response Fund, hosted by the Athens Area Community Foundation in partnership with United Way of Northeast Georgia, recently announced its fourth round of grant distributions to the 14 school systems in the 12-county region.

"The school systems are facing a multitude of expenses like necessary PPE, thermometers, and cleaning and sanitation supplies for return to classrooms, as well as resources like tablets, wireless hotspots and more for virtual learning potentials," according to a news release.

This round of disbursements totals $72,000.

The fourth round of grants include equal grants to all school systems across the 12-county region. That includes the Barrow County and Jackson County school systems.

"Students in all of the region’s counties and cities faced a sudden departure from in-person learning during the most recent school year, disrupting the education of local kids," organizers said. "As a result students are facing a drop in learning beyond the standard summer slump, and with the unknowns of the 2020-2021 school year, school systems are facing more needs than ever. The grants from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund allows the school systems to use the funds to ensure safe and healthy ways to teach and educate their students."

The Athens Area Community Foundation and United Way of Northeast Georgia said they are grateful for the financial stewardship of more than 380 individuals, organizations and businesses.

The fund is still open and accepting donations. Anyone can help by making a donation to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. To make a donation, visit www.athensareacf.org.

Funds will be granted to highest needs areas and to organizations based on data and community insights and assessments. The funding will not be restricted to current United Way of Northeast Georgia or other collective nonprofit-funded organizations.

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