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USDA-RD State Director Participates in Distance Learning Telemedicine Grant Announcement Ceremony with JoCo Schools

Robert Kerns
Release Date
Jun 02, 2022

SMITHFIELD, N.C., June 2, 2022 – USDA Rural Development State Director Reginald Speight participated in an announcement ceremony for Johnston County Schools today. 

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 us $982 thousand 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 thousand students in the Johnston and Tyrell County Public Schools.

Johnston County Schools will use $382 thousand to purchase telehealth video equipment to convert nursing stations into an on-site testing locations at Selma Elementary and Middle School in Selma and Benson Elementary and Middle School in Benson.

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.


Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.



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