SMITHFIELD – USDA Rural Development State Director Reginald Speight was at the Johnston County Public Schools Central Office in Smithfield on Thursday, June 2 to announce a two-county telehealth grant. Rural Development is investing $1.3 million in grants to Johnston County and Tyrell County Schools.
“Rural Development is proud of our ongoing relationship with Johnston County and the surrounding school districts,” said Rural Development State Director Reginald Speight. “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to the quality education of rural America. USDA is steadfast to the continued success of Johnston County Schools with almost $2 million in distance learning telemedicine grants invested here since 2019.”
Johnston and Tyrell County schools will use $982,000 to purchase telecommunications equipment to implement instructor professional development; helping educators respond more effectively to students and families in crisis, as well as provide a means for students to attend virtual support, counseling, and therapy sessions.
The project will benefit an estimated 14,000 public school students in the two counties.
Johnston County Schools will use $382,000 to purchase telehealth video equipment to convert nursing stations into an on-site testing locations at Selma Elementary, Selma Middle, Benson Elementary and Benson Middle School.
The project includes staffing a full-time nurse to administer vaccinations, and space to quarantine if needed. The equipment will aid in stopping the spread-transmission of COVID-19.
Our partnership with the USDA has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into students right here in Johnston County,” said Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy. “These relationships and grant opportunities are a vital piece of our school system, and we’re extremely grateful for the partnership that we have with the USDA.”