U.S. federal, state, and local governments during the new academic year now underway will together spend more than $8 trillion educating the nation’s young.
Some of those funds will be invested on the general and customary needs of K-12 schools, while some will be earmarked for colleges and universities.
And some—potentially billions of dollars, sources tell us—will be spent keeping students and educators prepared for class and safe from COVID-19.
Schools as recently as February of this year did not envision making such health-safety expenditures for the 2020-21 term. But that was only because COVID-19 had not yet fully penetrated the public consciousness.
Once awakened to the threat of the coronavirus, however, most schools across the country sent students home and shut down for the duration of the 2019-20 academic year.
At present, the pandemic appears to be abating, as evidenced by recent declines in new cases and deaths. Even so, the continuing policy responses to COVID-19 finds a great many school districts and higher-education systems working to acquire an array of products, services, and solutions that will let them teach effectively and to also keep students, faculty and staff safe.
What they want to buy
A number of schools decided over the summer to remain closed for varying periods of time in the fall and educate their enrollees by means of virtual classes, distance learning, and online courses.
Others opted to reopen and offer in-person, face-to-face instruction after implementing various disease-prevention strategies and protocols.
Still others chose to blend those two approaches by convening on-campus classes for just a couple of hours and then providing the remainder of each day’s coursework over the internet.
The common thread: there has been much purchasing activity by schools for goods, services, and solutions to equip students and to address COVID-19 concerns, both directly and indirectly. See BidPrime's COVID HUB.
Over the past six months, with a notable emphasis in recent weeks, there has been a substantial ramping up of public-education requests and procurements for the following wares:
● Desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and Chromebooks
● Headphones and microphones
● Online education and remote learning programs
● Network hardware
● Internet connectivity
Connectivity is the backbone of any remote-, distance-, or online-education model. However, there at present are approximately 25 million U.S. households—most of which are located in rural areas—without affordable, reliable internet access.
The school-aged children residing at many of these homes are challenged to benefit from online instructional programs because of the lack of affordable, reliable internet access limits.
Fortunately, there are workarounds—some of them quite ingenious. Listen as public schools administrators David Childress and Ken Bouwens, from Louisa County, a rural area in Virginia, discuss the “Wireless on Wheels” program they developed and implemented to enhance connectivity in their community.
Notably, not all COVID defense measures being adopted by schools are tech-based. There also is demand for a gamut of hard goods and consumable supplies. These include face masks, social-distancing circles, plexiglas shields, hand sanitizer stations, and more.
Opportunity for vendors
Each school district and higher-education system has its own set of rules, regulations, and strategies for continuing their mission to teach in this, the age of COVID-19. These mandates stem from an overarching desire to keep students and teachers safe, but they also are influenced by local, state, and federal edicts.
As a result, a service like BidPrime will prove indispensable if you, as a vendor, are looking for opportunities to sell your products, services, and solutions to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.
Here, for example, are some of the current, actual bids/RFPs related to virtual, distance, and online education which you might have missed or responded to too late without BidPrime alerting you to them within seconds of their public posting:
Sample Active Bids
To review opportunities and documents in the public-education sector, go to BidPrime or call us at (888) 808-5356.