Pictured, from left, are Brian Jackson, superintendent, West Greene School District; Bettie Stammerjohn, Executive director – Community Foundation of Greene County; Bob Ward, director of technology, West Greene School District; Blake Lightholder, CNX; Tim Rinehart, CNX; Erica Whetstone, CNX; Travis Rastoka, CNX; Craig Bland, CNX; Eric Gaydos, academic director, West Greene School District; Jeff McCracken, board chairman, Community Foundation of Greene County.

As Greene County students continue to grapple with school closures and other challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology is playing a critical role.

Working in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greene County, CNX Resources Corporation recently provided a $15,000 technology grant to West Greene School District, according to a CNX news release.

The funds were used to purchase 50 Chromebooks, helping ensure students will be able to complete their assignments without interruption whether or not schools remain open, the release said.

“West Greene School District had to act swiftly in closing the technology gap among its learners when COVID-19 struck in March,” said Eric Gaydos, the district’s academic director. “Pushing our technology inventory to the limit, we identified the necessity of incorporating fresh technology into our technology cycle in order to create a sustainable 1:1 initiative for our learners for years to come.”

Brian Aiello, CNX vice president of external relations, said his organization has been in regular contact with the community foundation to assess what the community’s needs have been.

“It’s an evolving situation and the technology is not always available to respond suddenly, especially for families who face financial hardship,” he said. “CNX is pleased to be able to lend a helping hand.”

West Greene has offered a hybrid of remote and in-person schooling, with students having the choice between the two since the school year began in the fall.

“When we have to go virtual, it stretches resources across the board,” Gaydos said. “But we’re also trying to make strategic decisions for the future of our students.”

These particular laptops will be assigned to a group of seventh grade students who will keep them until they graduate.

“Technology changes rapidly. If you are not flexible and do not have a long-term refreshment plan of technology integration, you will fall behind rather quickly with the newest technology trends and remain relevant in the educational realm,” said Bob Ward, IT director of West Greene School District. “We want to ensure our students are using technology that is currently being utilized in new and emerging industries within our community.”

CNX also recently extended grants totaling $20,000 to McGuffey, Trinity, Washington, Kiski Area and New Kensington school districts. These grants are the second investment from CNX this year in response to COVID-19, the release said.

In April, the company announced a gift benefiting food banks and senior services in Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties. In total, CNX has dedicated more than $70,000 and 200 service hours to help our communities in need during the COVID crisis, the release said.

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