UTAH, July 7, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday announced the approval of seven American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief state plans, including Utah’s, to distribute remaining funds to individual states.
Utah will be receiving $205,578,303, according to a department news release.
The plans detail how states are using and plan to use ARP ESSER funds to safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools, and address the needs of students, including by equitably expanding opportunity for students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOE said.
“Utah will award ARP ESSER funds for evidence-based summer learning and afterschool programming through a competitive grant process to both districts and community-based organizations which will support students’ academic and social, emotional, and mental health needs,” the news release added.
Earlier this year, the Department distributed two thirds of the ARP ESSER funds, totaling $81 billion, to 50 states and the District of Columbia. The remaining third of the funding to states is being made available once their plans are approved. Wednesday’s approval of state plans for Utah, South Dakota, Texas, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C., will result in the release of nearly $6 billion in ARP ESSER funds for these six states and Washington D.C., following the $12 billion in ARP ESSER funds distributed to these states earlier this year.
“It is heartening to see, reflected in these state plans, the ways in which states and Washington, D.C., are planning to use American Rescue Plan funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities, particularly as we move into the summer and look ahead to the upcoming academic year,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The approval of these plans enables states to receive vital, additional American Rescue Plan funds to quickly and safely reopen schools for full-time, in-person learning; meet students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs; and address disparities in access to educational opportunity that were exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“From investing in summer learning and enrichment programs, to expanding access to COVID-19 vaccinations for school staff and students, to addressing the academic impacts of unfinished instructional time and increasing students’ access to school counselors and mental health services, the state plans that have been submitted to the department lay the groundwork for the ways in which an unprecedented infusion of federal resources will be used to address the urgent needs of America’s children and build back better.”
A total of 40 states have submitted their ARP ESSER state plans to the department. The department is reviewing the plans expeditiously and is in contact with states to ensure their plans meet all necessary requirements in order to access the remaining funds. The department is also in contact with states that have not yet submitted plans, the vast majority of which are due to state board of education or legislative review requirements.