10/14/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/14/2021 11:05
Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the approval of Nebraska's American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and distributed remaining ARP ESSER funds to them. Nebraska's plan details how the state is using and plans to use ARP ESSER funds to safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most, particularly those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As students and states return to school, the Department released the Return To School Roadmap, which provides key resources and supports for students, parents, educators, and school communities to build excitement around returning to classrooms this school year and outlines how federal funding can support the safe and sustained return to in-person learning. ARP funds can be used to support the roadmap's efforts.
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 will be made available once state plans are approved. Nebraska is receiving $546 million total in ARP ESSER funds, and today's approval of their plan will result in the release of the final $182 million. Additionally, the Department approved state plans from Maryland and Virginia. Today's approvals mean a total of 44 ARP ESSER state plans have been approved since June.
"I am excited to announce approval of Nebraska's plan," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. "It is heartening to see, reflected in these state plans, the ways in which states are thinking deeply about how to use American Rescue Plan funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities, particularly as we enter the upcoming academic year. 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. 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."
"Nebraska schools have taken a lead in pandemic response from the very beginning, working tirelessly to find ways to keep students in the classroom," said Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matthew Blomstedt. "Our schools will continue to lead by using the latest funds to support students by addressing unfinished learning and boosting learning acceleration. We have the unique opportunity to provide schools and students the supports and community partnerships they need to be their very best."
The ARP ESSER state plans approved by the Department today, including Nebraska's, show how states are using federal pandemic resources to support safe, in-person instruction and meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students-with a focus on the students most impacted by the pandemic. For example:
The distribution of ARP ESSER funds is part of the Department's broader effort to support students and districts as they work to re-engage students impacted by the pandemic, address inequities exacerbated by COVID-19, and build our education system back better than before. In addition to providing $130 billion for K-12 education in the American Rescue Plan to support the safe reopening of K-12 schools and meet the needs of all students, the Biden-Harris Administration also has:
In addition to the actions the Biden Administration has taken to reopen schools, the President has proposed critical investments through his Build Back Better Agenda that will enable schools to rebuild stronger than they were before the pandemic, such as investing billions to build a diverse educator workforce, expand access to pre-K to all families, and invest in school infrastructure, among other provisions.