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Community Foundation of the Ozarks plans to issue $100,000 in grants to nonprofits that can provide child care and virtual learning to assist SPS with reopening.
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Community Foundation of the Ozarks plans to issue $100,000 in grants to nonprofits that can provide child care and virtual learning to assist SPS with reopening.

CFO responds to SPS announcement with $100K pledge

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Community Foundation of the Ozarks Inc. pledged $100,000 in grants toward nonprofits' work in child care and virtual learning following Springfield Public Schools' reopening announcement yesterday.

Part of its multimillion-dollar COVID-19 fund, CFO plans to award grant money to nonprofits that can provide child care solutions, according to a news release. SPS yesterday announced that for the semester starting Aug. 24, parents would have the choice of sending their kids to the classroom for two days a week with virtual learning making up the remaining three days, or to select full-time virtual learning.

The CFO grants will be awarded to nonprofit proposals that provide services to low-income families; serve children of essential workers, including educators; and provide safe learning environments that include sanitation and physical distancing protocols. Proposals are due by end of business Aug. 3, with the winning applicants slated to be notified Aug. 7.

“We recognize this is a very tight turnaround for grant proposals, but we also know that we are in a changing environment that demands adaptive solutions to major issues like finding a balance to educate kids in safe and supportive learning environments,” said Bridget Dierks, CFO's vice president of programs, in the release. “One of the advantages that philanthropy contributes to communities is the ability to provide flexible and responsive funding to meet emerging needs in this climate."

CFO's COVID-19 fund was established in March with an initial $1 million commitment. It recently was expanded by another $1 million.

In the SPS announcement, Superintendent John Jungmann said the reopening plan seeks to provide a productive learning environment for children while "prioritizing the health and wellness of our students, staff and community," according to a separate release.

The plan involves splitting children up by their last names to limit contact amid the pandemic.

“We are balancing the impact of a global pandemic with the critical need for our students to continue learning," he said in the release. "By offering in-person and virtual learning options, we are providing our families choices that allow them to access high-quality instruction in the format that best meets their needs.”

Parents have until July 31 to submit their decision to the district.

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