Since late March 2020, the federal government has approved relief funding to help states address challenges to student learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), and the American Rescue Plan will provide approximately $190 billion to the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Education Relief (ESSER) fund. Of course, with the availability of funds come many questions such as - How can these funds be used? When do they need to be used by? Where should we start?
In late December of last year, Congress approved the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 in response to the challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has created. In the CAA, over $54 billion is available for K-12 schools to use, which is in addition to what was provided in the CARES Act ($13.2 billion). The purpose of these funds includes purchasing materials and education technology to address learning loss and improve school facilities and infrastructure to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus. Funding will be available through September 2022. There will be instructions from both the federal government and each state to explain the process the overall process of using the funding.