OAKLAND (CBS SF) – The Oakland Unified School District, Oakland Public Education Fund and the city of Oakland announced Tuesday that more than $1.5 million has been raised to support students and their families who have been affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID Relief Fund for Oakland Students and Schools launched April 6 with an initial investment of $400,000 by the Oakland Public Education Fund. The district has used the funds to give out more than 700,000 meals as well as bags of groceries to some 14,000 families in need, with plans to continue the donations at least through early June.

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After hitting the fund’s initial goal of $1.5 million, the Oakland Public Education Fund as well as the city and the district have now boosted the fund’s goal to $4 million to help students access technology required for at-home education.

“All of our teachers are working tirelessly and creatively to engage our students in distance learning,” district Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammel said. “But we also know that there are about 17,000 Oakland families without computers and internet access. This includes 2,000 of our juniors and our seniors who desperately need to be prepared for college and post-secondary options.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the district and the city will need to raise an estimated $12.5 million to distribute the needed technology to the thousands of students who lack the resources for distance learning.

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The district and the city would then need about $4 million each year to maintain that technology and internet connectivity.

“That is a huge goal that is obviously bigger than what we’ve been able to do to date or what our next goal is,” Schaaf said.

Residents, businesses and philanthropic organizations can donate to the fund at oaklandedfund.org.

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