Senate District 28
Vernon Sykes
Sykes Commends Release of Pandemic Response Funding
January 31, 2022
Today, state Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) supported the Ohio Controlling Board’s decision to appropriate $172.1 million in federal Covid-19 relief funds for the state’s continued pandemic response, which will help reduce health disparities, increase Covid-19 at-home testing, address the teachers’ shortage and more.

“In order to fully address the impact the pandemic is having on our state, we must make sure to support our most vulnerable communities,” said Sykes, who sits on the Controlling Board. “I’m grateful that we can use this funding from the federal government to help increase vaccination rates in minority populations, provide support for schools and address the negative impact the pandemic has had on children’s mental health.”

The Controlling Board appropriated $17 million for efforts to reduce health disparities among Ohio's most vulnerable communities. The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council was awarded an additional $135,360 to support the creation and distribution of educational materials to increase vaccination rates for people with disabilities. The Controlling Board appropriated $1,056,000 to the Commission on Minority Health to address health disparities for high-risk, minority and rural communities. An additional $75 million was approved for Covid-19 lab testing services and $71 million was released for the purchase and distribution of 2.8 million at-home rapid tests.

The Controlling Board also released funds to address the pandemic’s impact on K-12 schools. This includes $7 million to contract with Graduation Alliance to address the chronic absence problems that have occurred during the pandemic. It also approved $146,000 to develop tools to strengthen the educator workforce which has been stretched thin as a result of the pandemic. The Controlling Board also approved more than $829,000 for outreach regarding youth mental health support services.

Additional details for these funds can be found here.
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