Children’s Trust Of Alachua County Seeking Ways To Help During Coronavirus Outbreak

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In light of the coronavirus pandemic, organizations like the Children’s Trust of Alachua County are having to refocus their goals and decide how they will help in order to best benefit the community.

The Children’s Trust of Alachua County met this week to discuss what the role of the organization would be in the coming months.

Colin Murphy, executive director of the Children’s Trust of Alachua County, said his long-term focus is on childcare and child welfare.

“I know that one of the concerns is that when you have people at home there’s more instances of domestic violence and potentially, children entering the child welfare system mainly because people can’t pay their bills, essentially,” Murphy said on Monday.

In the meantime, the advisory board will continue to meet and make fiscal decisions as to where they feel funds and other resources would benefit children the most.

Knowing this is fundraising season for most non-profits, Murphy said the committee discussed a solution that would allow them to get a better gauge of which groups need aid.

“A few other possibilities might be to participate in the community foundation’s need survey,” Murphy said, “and while there’s no guarantees we would fund any of those, if we do get a request or a request comes to me, I can send them there and at least have them apply and take back the information and discuss.”

Another major focus of the Children’s Trust is maintaining children’s education during the transition to virtual learning.

The transition to online classes caused problems for those who lack resources like computers or WiFi, Superintendent of Alachua County Schools Karen Clarke said. She shared what public schools are doing to prepare for these issues.

“We’re thinking we are going to have enough devices to issue one per family based on some surveys that we did and by process of elimination,” Clarke said. “Being able to determine that, we have ordered an additional 600 iPads already.”

The school district began allocating devices to larger high schools first, and is starting the distribution to elementary and middle schools this week.

Clarke said that efforts are being made to ensure every student has access to the internet and an electronic device.

“We are in the process now, for lack of a better word, reprogramming our bus GPS systems that will turn them into little hot spots,” Clarke said, “without requiring one of the little ‘MiFi’ boxes.”

About Elizabeth Biro

Elizabeth is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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