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Ensuring Student Health and Safety with ESSER III Funds

By ASBO International posted 11-03-2022 08:44


Part Four of a Series on How Districts Are Using American Rescue Plan (ARP) Funds to Make a Difference for Students 

School business leaders have been tasked with helping to determine how to apply federal funding in support of student recovery and success following the interruptions brought about by COVID-19. States and districts are required to post their plans for spending ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds online and communicate them with families and stakeholders. 

The United States Department of Education (USED) encourages families and parents to engage with school leaders to ensure their students’ needs are being met, and has shared a Back-to-School Checklist detailing requirements for ARP spending, categories where funds can be employed, and specific examples of how states and school districts have allocated funds in support of students. 

In the category of health and safety, USED recognized ASBO International district members Gaston County Schools in North Carolina for using ARP funds to increase nursing staff by 100 percent, assigning a full-time nurse to each of their 54 school buildings rather than having nursing staff divide time between buildings. 

Denver Public Schools in Colorado is allocating $25 million in ARP funds toward improving ventilation and air quality with 800 additional air quality sensors, repairs to HVAC components, upgrading school air filters, and adding outdoor classroom structures. 

Detroit Public Schools in Michigan will spend $700 million to increase the percentage of school buildings with working air conditioning systems from 35 percent to 95 percent. 

Houston Independent School District in Texas is applying $34 million in ARP funds to ensure all spaces have air filtration systems. Another $83 million will go toward upgrading HVAC systems in the 20 schools most in need of improvements.