ARP ESSER Grant Information
Grant Funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund
The federal government's American Rescue Plan (ARP) includes Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) grant funding for all Pennsylvania school districts. The Greater Latrobe School District will be submitting its grant application in July.
Unfortunately, there has been misinformation on social media platforms regarding the requirements for school districts to accept this grant funding. In order to ensure that all Greater Latrobe School District stakeholders have an accurate understanding of the ARP ESSER grant requirements, please see the frequently asked questions below.
Will the Greater Latrobe District be required to implement universal mask requirements or social distancing protocols if it receives ARP ESSER funds?
No, a school district is not required to adopt these specific mitigation prevention strategies in order to receive ARP ESSER funds. The requirement is to submit a Health and Safety Plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (“PDE”) which addresses the extent to which it is implementing the mitigation strategies in the CDC guidance.
What is the “ARP ESSER Health and Safety Plan Guidance & Template”?
The ARP ESSER Health and Safety Plan Guidance & Template is a tool developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for school districts applying for ARP ESSER funds to use in reporting their Health and Safety Plans.
Does the American Rescue Plan Act require school districts to adopt CDC guidance on COVID-19 mitigation in K-12 schools in their Health and Safety Plans 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. The U.S. Department of Education clarified what a school district must do to comply with the ARP’s requirement to develop and report a Health and Safety Plan with the issuance of interim rule 86 FR 21195 on April 22, 2021. Per the interim rule:
“The requirement does not mandate that a [school district] adopt the CDC guidance, but
only requires that a [school district] describe in its plan the extent to which it has
adopted the key prevention and mitigation strategies identified in the guidance.”
Once a school district submits its Health and Safety Plan to the Pennsylvania Department of Education by July 30, 2021, is it required to keep it in place for the entire 2021-2022 school year?
No. A school district accepting ARP ESSER funds under the American Rescue Plan Act can make changes to its plan at any time. The only requirement is to review its plans at least once every six months during the entire period of its ARP ESSER grant.
What if a school district does not have a school board meeting scheduled prior to the Health and Safety Plan submission deadline of July 31, 2021?
A school district whose board will not meet prior to the submission deadline should submit its preliminary, unapproved safety plan to PDE by July 31, 2021. Upon approval of the plan by the school board, the school district must submit its final approved Health and Safety Plan and URL to PDE no later than September 1, 2021.