Gov. Asa Hutchinson

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday that the state will spend $10 million of CARES Act funds to expand student internet access as schools prepare to resume classes next month.

Those funds will be used to provide Wi-Fi access points to about 20,000 devices, helping students who do not have home internet receive online instruction. Users will have access to unlimited data from T-Mobile and AT&T for 24 months.

The state's plan to resume classes during the coronavirus pandemic calls for in-person instruction with supplemental online instruction.

Education Secretary Johnny Key also announced on Monday that $1 million of CARES Act funds will go to creating a stockpile of personal protective equipment for schools. The state has only used around 50 percent of its CARES Act funding, according to Hutchinson.

“For the first time since March, I don’t think that light at the end of the tunnel is a train,” Rivercrest School District Superintendent Sally Bennett said during the news conference. “The door is now wide open for transformation in education.”

Later this week, the state will release the results of a survey on the readiness of school districts to reopen, Key said.

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