The federal government provided federal grant funding to states in an effort to help school districts safely return to in-person learning, support student learning and address student needs associated with the COVID-10 pandemic. Oversight of school districts’ plans for expenditure of grant awards is provided through the Kansas State Department of Education and the Kansas State Board of Education.
Congress enacted the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund in March 2020. Financial support was again enacted through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act and the ESSER II Fund. Some of the Eligible uses for ESSER II include addressing learning loss, preparing schools for reopening, testing, planning, and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental after school programs and activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency, just to name a few.
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act was signed into law on March 11, 2021. It is an unprecedented $1.9 trillion package of assistance measures, including $122 billion for the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund. Funds are provided to State educational agencies and school districts to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Nation’s students.
Will school districts be required to implement universal mask requirements to receive ESSER funds?
No, states and school districts are not required to adopt universal mask requirements in order to receive the funds.
How may a school district, Local Education Agency (LEA), use ESSER funds?
Plans for expenditures and grant awards to school districts must be approved by the Kansas State Board of Education.
ESSER funds may be used for the broad range of activities listed in section 18003(d) of the CARES Act, section 313(d) of the CRRSA Act, and section 2001(e) of the ARP Act. Although the lists of allowable uses of funds are not identical, any of the ESSER funds (ESSER I, ESSER II, or ARP ESSER) may be used to support all of the allowable uses of funds listed in any of the ESSER programs. Allowable uses are consolidated below.
The activities that are listed in section 18003(d) of the CARES Act, section 313(d) of the CRRSA Act, and section 2001(e) of the ARP Act that an LEA may support with ESSER funds are:
- Any activity authorized by the ESEA, including the Native Hawaiian Education Act and the Alaska Native Educational Equity, Support, and Assistance Act (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.).
- Any activity authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.).
- Any activity authorized by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) (29 U.S.C. 3271 et seq.).
- Any activity authorized by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins V) (20 U.S.C. 2301 et seq.).
- Any activity authorized by subtitle B of title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento) (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.).2
- Coordinating preparedness and response efforts of LEAs with State, local, Tribal, and territorial public health departments, and other relevant agencies, to improve coordinated responses among such entities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
- Providing principals and other school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools.
- Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, students with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population.
- Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of LEAs.
- Training and professional development for staff of the LEA on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
- Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of the LEA, including buildings operated by such LEA.
- Planning for, coordinating, and implementing activities during long-term closures, including providing meals to eligible students, providing technology for online learning to all students, providing guidance for carrying out requirements under the IDEA and ensuring other education services can continue to be provided consistent with all Federal, State, and local requirements.
- Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the LEA that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and students with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.
- Providing mental health services and supports, including through the implementation of evidence-based full-service community schools.
- Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and enrichment and supplemental after-school programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care.
- Addressing the academic impact of lost instructional time among an LEA’s students, including low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care, including by—
- Administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable to accurately assess students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction.
- Implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students.
- Providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment.
- Tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.
- School facility repairs and improvements to enable operation of schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student health needs.
- Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement.
- Developing strategies and implementing public health protocols including, to the greatest extent practicable, policies in line with guidance from the CDC for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff.
- Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in the LEA and continuing to employ existing staff of the LEA.
Does the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act require school districts to adopt specific COVID-19 mitigation guidance from the CDC as a condition of receiving ARP ESSER funds?
No. The ARP does not require school districts to adopt any specific CDC guidance as a condition of receiving ARP ESSER funds. It only requires that a school district describe the extent to which it has adopted prevention and mitigation strategies.
ESSER I SPED
Spending of ESSER I as of July 12, 2021
Total = $133,868.41
- Expanded programming for Extended School Year (Special Education)
- Special Education Reading Resources
- Elementary Reading Resources
- Supplemental Lab Resources
- Health Services Support
ESSER II SPED
Spending of ESSER II as of July 12, 2021
Total = $0
Planned Expenditures as of September 9, 2021
Total Planned = $2,377,611
- District Literacy Specialist*
- District Improvement Specialist – Special Education*
- District Autism Specialist*
- School Improvement Specialists (2)*
- Additional Nurses (2)*
- Additional Social Worker*
- At-Risk Teacher (.5)
- Assistive Technology Specialist (.5)*
- Occupational Therapist (.5)*
- Speech Language Pathologist (.7)*
- Resource Teacher (.5)*
- Class Size Reduction Positions (2)
- Expanded Summer School (2021)
- Supplemental Resources for Reading, Math and Social Emotional Learning
- Retention Incentive for staff
*positions funded for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school year.
ARP ESSER (ESSER III)
ESSER III SPED
Regulations for ESSER III have recently been completed. Staff are currently reviewing student data to begin making preliminary plans. As part of the ESSER III process, stakeholder input will be considered before plans are finalized.
> June 22: Required Federal Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction & Continuity of Services
Describe how the district will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff and the extent to which it has adopted policies, and a description of any such policies, on each of the following safety recommendations established by the CDC:
(A) Universal and correct wearing of masks.
The wearing of barrier face masks is encouraged while inside USD 232 buildings. When outdoors, barrier face masks are optional. Barrier face masks are strongly encouraged for anyone who is not fully vaccinated whenever appropriate distancing cannot be maintained. Barrier face masks may be required in some indoor settings.
(B) Modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing (g.,use of cohorts/podding).
Appropriate distancing is encouraged when possible. If, due to the activity or venue, appropriate distancing on a regular basis cannot be maintained, barrier face masks may be required. This will be especially true if it is known that the participants are not vaccinated.
(C) Handwashing and respiratory etiquette.
Individuals are encouraged to wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. Hands should be washed or sanitized before and after using shared supplies. Covering coughs and sneezes is always recommended.
(D) Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation.
In spaces that are regularly occupied, enhanced cleaning and maintenance protocols will continue to be used. Increased outdoor air will continue to be used as a mitigation strategy. The activities taking place in each space in a building will help determine the amount of fresh outside air utilized.
(E) Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments.
Contact tracing will be done by, and in cooperation with, the the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.
(F) Diagnostic and screening testing.
Testing of symptomatic students may be available at school. Diagnostic and screening testing is available throughout the community.
(G) Efforts to provide vaccinations to school communities.
USD 232 is partnering with University of Kansas Health System and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment to provide facilities for vaccination clinics.
(H) Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies.
Specific student health needs are addressed through a student health plan and/or their Individual Education Plan.
(I) Coordination with State and local health officials.
USD 232 officials meet regularly with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.
Describe how the district will ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to:
(A) services to address students' academic needs
USD 232 has expanded summer offerings for 2021 and will continue to evaluate student needs throughout the 2021-22 school year.
(B) students' and staff social, emotional, mental health
USD 232 has incorporated social emotional learning and interventions as part of its Multi-Tiered System of Supports for students. Staff members have access to an employee assistance program, Life Matters. Social-emotional and mental health needs of student and staff will continue to be evaluated throughout the 2021-22 school year.
(C) other needs, which may include student health and food services.
USD 232 has continued the expanded summer meals service for 2021. All students will be eligible for free meals during the 2021-22 school year. The district is also increasing the availability of nurses to accommodate student health needs.
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