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Education Department Highlights American Rescue Plan Beneficiaries

June 15, 2021 by Ansley Puckett
U.S. Dept. of Education. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Education posted 28 plans Monday describing how various states intend to use the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds to support students, schools and educators.

The fund provides almost $122 billion to states to support schools in reopening operations and in-person instruction while meeting the needs of students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

States received access to about 66% of their ARP ESSER funds in April, totaling $81 billion. The remaining $41 billion of the funds will become available after the Department approves each state’s plan.

The DOE will review each report to determine if the state’s plan addresses the published requirements. Requirements included seeking input from the public and stakeholders in the development of the plan and addressing the needs of students disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The Department will help states with revising reports if the requirements are not met.

Highlights from the 28 plans include the acceleration and sustainment of a safe return to in-person instruction. The Department expects all states to provide students the opportunity to receive full-time and in-person instruction this fall.

“We’re thrilled to see that states are directing the unprecedented resources from the American Rescue Plan toward addressing student needs and quickly and safely reopening our schools, so we can give every student the opportunity to learn full-time, in-person,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. 

All states also detailed their intent to prioritize the safety of their staff, educators and students by implementing up-to-date CDC prevention policies. States were also required to detail the expansion of summer learning programs and enrichment opportunities.

State reports included objectives to expand mental health support for students, in addition to social and emotional support, ensuring that more students have access to counselors and mental health services. The plans also must address the academic impact of lost instructional time due to the pandemic.

“These state plans make clear that the American Rescue Plan is providing much-needed support to states and districts as they work to not only bring students back to in-person learning, but also to address inequities made worse by the pandemic and make sure every student has the social, emotional, and mental health support they need to create a strong foundation for academic success,” Cardona said.

The Department received 28 ARP ESSER state plans by the June 7 deadline and are working with the remaining states who missed the deadline due mostly to legislative review or state board of education requirements. 

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