School districts urged to gets students back on campus with help of emergency funding

School districts urged to gets students back on campus with help of emergency funding

PITTSBURGH — The Department of Education is recommending Pennsylvania school districts focus their efforts on returning students to their campuses and providing programs to allow children to catch up on instruction they may have missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

”The past 10 months have been unprecedented. COVID-19 has no doubt changed our school communities,” said Noe Ortega, acting secretary of education.

The pandemic has presented a lot of challenges for teachers and students.

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Because of this, emergency funding in the amount of $2.2 billion has been allocated in stimulus funds to help get instruction back on the right track.

”The ESSER II funds will provide extra critical assistance to our school communities as they continue to navigate the pandemic and begin safely reopening,” said Ortega.

The money is part of the emergency relief fund passed by Congress in December.

”The department will distribute these funds in the same manner that it distributed the first round of ESSER funding back in May 2020,” said Ortega.

The funding may be used for several programs such as food service, professional training, technology upgrades and cleaning supplies, as well as after school programs and mental health support.

School districts and charter schools must apply to get the funds. Then schools must allocate and spend those funds by September 2023.

Right now, the Department of Education is working with state health officials on vaccination protocols and mitigation efforts to help schools reopen and hopefully remain open.

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