RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — On Monday afternoon, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced $6.5 million in funding — thanks to the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) — to help public schools in the Commonwealth develop digital floor plans.

This news comes after Youngkin’s office says the governor signed Del. Robert Bell’s House Bill 741, which requires local school boards to create detailed and accurate floor plans for each of their public school buildings.

According to officials, the ‘Digital Mapping Program for Virginia K–12 Schools’ will fund up to $3,500 per public school to create a common operation picture through digital maps for school administrators and first responders to use during emergencies. 

“This legislation and the Digital Mapping Program for Virginia K–12 Schools will help ensure the safety of all students, staff, and visitors who enter our schools,” Youngkin said. “It will likewise promote the safety of the brave men and women who keep our children safe.”

“Each child deserves to feel welcome and secure in school,” said Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera. “This new legislation is an important step towards ensuring every parent can trust their child is in a safe learning environment.”

“In an emergency, every second matters,” Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Robert Mosier stated. “It is imperative that our first responders have the ability to quickly assess the situation and coordinate response efforts. This legislation and the Digital Mapping Program for Virginia K–12 Schools further the goal of minimizing harm.”

“In this day and age, every school should have accurate and accessible maps,” said Bell. “This information is the first step in ensuring the best possible outcome to any emergency.”

“As a parent of a child enrolled in a public school, I am excited that DCJS is offering this program,” Jackson Miller, director of the DCJS, said. “The Digital Mapping Program is one of many ways DCJS is supporting collaboration between schools and first responders.”

In order to receive funding through the ‘Digital Mapping Program for Virginia K–12 Schools,’ Youngkin’s office says an authorized school division representative should collaborate with local first responder partners, select a vendor for the digital mapping project, and submit an application to DCJS. Once the maps have been created and shared with first responders, school divisions may be reimbursed. 

To learn more about the Commonwealth’s digital mapping program for public schools, follow this link.