Montana Gov. Gianforte allocates more than $32 million in federal aid for school virus testing
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) announced on Wednesday that he will direct more than $32 million of federal funds to COVID-19 screening and testing in schools.
The money is part of a $35 million allocation to the state as part of the American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress and signed by President Biden in March.
New COVID-19 cases in Montana have largely stayed low since January, when it saw its second highest resurgence in cases since early November. On Monday, the state saw 92 new cases, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 45 percent of its population is fully vaccinated, per data from Johns Hopkins University.
The Montana governor also said that more than $1.6 million of federal funds would be spent toward the state’s SNAP Employment and Training program, which provides job training for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants. The program is only available in three counties for single adults due to limited funding, the governor’s office said.
“By infusing these funds into the program with an eye towards long-term sustainability, we’ll be able to expand valuable workforce training services across the state to serve more Montanans and help them become self-sufficient,” Gianforte said in a statement.
Additionally, over $1.2 million will be spent toward a program focused on supportive services for families with toddlers and infants who have significant developmental disabilities or delays.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reported that while 1,540 infants and toddlers were served by the program in fiscal 2020, enrollment in the program decreased by 48 percent in the 2021 fiscal year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Providing supports to parents and serving children with developmental delays or disabilities when they’re under the age of three can prevent further, more costly services and ensure their success down the road,” Gianforte said.
The governor also announced that over $310,000 would be spent toward an existing grant in Montana aimed at promoting child safety and child abuse prevention.