Lexington-Richland School District Five is requesting public input on spending federal funds received from the U.S. Department of Education through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER), signed into law Mar. 11.
ARP ESSER provides a total of nearly $122 billion to States 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.
The district received over $15 million from these funds to reopen schools safely, support continued access to in-person instruction, and to address the academic, social, emotional and mental health needs of students resulting from the impact of COVID-19. The amount of each district’s award is based on the amount of Title I, Part A funds they received in summer 2020 from funds under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
School districts are required seek public comment on the use of these funds to develop and finalize a safe return to in-person Instruction and continuity of services plan. A district survey is available online and is to be completed by 11:59 p.m. Aug. 11.
The district will host a virtual community forum Aug.12 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Interim Superintendent Dr. Akil E. Ross, Sr. will discuss back-to-school concerns, as well as the results from the Reentry and ESSER III Survey. Details will be shared at a later date via the school district’s automated telephone system, the district website and social media.
There are 15 allowable categories with ESSER III funds:
- Any activities authorized under ESSA, IDEA, Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, Perkins Act
- Coordinate emergency response
- Address needs of highly vulnerable populations
- Ensure preparedness and coordination (systems & procedures)
- Training related to infectious diseases
- Purchase cleaning supplies to sanitize and clean school
- Planning/coordinating for continued education during long-term closures
- Purchase education technology
- Mental health supports
- Summer learning
- Addressing learning loss among students
- Facility repairs and improvements to reduce the risk of virus transmission and exposure
- Improvement of indoor air quality in school facilities
- 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 health and safety of students, educators and other staff
- Other activities to ensure continuity of education and employment.