With the CSLFRF final rule published, schools have complete clarity on how they can utilize COVID-19 emergency funding that was dispersed through the CARES Act and the ARPA. While there is limited oversight into how schools are using the funds, some states and school districts are choosing to be extremely transparent about their spending. We took a deep dive into some of the most common uses of funds, and looked at how they benefit current and future students.
Most schools split the bulk of their funding on four major expenditures: teacher pay, student enrichment programs, COVID-19 risk mitigation, and perhaps surprisingly, athletics.
Teachers are being tasked with more responsibilities than ever before. Students who fell behind while being homeschooled require higher levels of instruction and guidance, and the labor shortage has left many schools without enough teachers to cover all of their students.
To reward teachers for their hard work, school districts have offered bonuses and raises. In fact, around 42% of schools plan to use Covid funds to improve teacher pay and bring on more staff. These financial incentives and reduced student-to-teacher ratios should bring some relief both to teachers and struggling students.
Student Resources & Special Education
Many students struggled to keep up with their schoolwork as the pandemic shut the whole world down. With so many students falling behind, school districts are determined to provide them with the necessary resources to catch up and grow stronger after this setback. In Bibb County, Georgia, this includes offering summer school and other remedial classes to help students reach their full potential.
Students with special needs and disabilities also had difficulties adjusting between remote learning and in-person school, but require different strategies to return to normalcy. To ensure students with disabilities can also thrive as they return to in-person school, 20% of a district’s allocated Covid funding must address learning deficits that resulted from the pandemic, with an emphasis on special education services.
Naturally, many schools chose to use Covid funding for the exact purpose of preventing COVID-19 outbreaks within schools. For example, schools are combatting Covid by upgrading ventilation systems and providing personal protective equipment to faculty, staff, and students.
The Berkeley United school district used $2 million of its $24 million in Covid funding on reducing the risk of disease transmission. Over half of the mitigation monies were used to purchase PPE, while the rest went to testing, contact tracing, and hiring contract nurses.
Allowing students to safely compete in their chosen sports is a form of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as many students missed out on the social, physical, and mental health benefits of being an athlete. In an attempt to return student life back to normal, many schools used the influx of funds to upgrade their athletic facilities.
In Whitewater, Wisconsin, $1.6 million of the funds went toward installing new turf fields for football, baseball, and softball. In Creston Community, Iowa, they upgraded their outdoor stadium – a measure that they say brings the stadium into ADA compliance and allows fans and parents to social distance more easily.
Another investment that both schools and professional teams are making to improve the health and safety of athletes is Sports-O-Zone. The easy-to-use sanitizing system quickly kills viruses, bacteria, and mold – making it an important investment both now and in the future.
While the Covid pandemic may subside, athletes will always battle against MRSA, Staph, Norovirus, and other germs lurking in locker rooms and gear. Keep your teams safe and your budget intact with this free guide to requesting Covid funding for your athletic department.
Are you interested in using Covid funding to purchase Sports-O-Zone? Get in touch.