How academic decision makers can use ESSER and HEERF funding – Spaces4Learning
How university decision-makers can use ESSER and HEERF funding
By Ron Baer
Students and faculty in the country’s 132,000 public and private K-12 schools and 7,000 institutions of higher education have struggled over the past year and a half to stay engaged in a program focused on digital. However, as the current school year draws to a close, a return to normal from the start of the school year finally seems possible. It is an exciting prospect for many, but returning to full-time in-person teaching will not be without many challenges.
To help meet these challenges, the U.S. Congress established the $ 189 billion Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). $ 77 billion to provide financial support to preschools and colleges under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES). Additional funding of $ 100 billion to support the construction of new schools and make improvements to existing infrastructure is expected to be voted on by Congress this summer.
Available until September 2024, ESSER and HEERF money is intended to facilitate the safe and healthy return to in-person teaching, ensuring that schools across the country can meet the needs of their staff and staff. students in education, safety, security and well-being. perspective. However, there are many questions about how funds are distributed and how to get the most out of every dollar received.
To reach the communities that need it most, funds are carefully distributed from federal education agencies to local and state education agencies. Funds for the CARES Act flow from Congress to the Department of Education, which then distributes the funds to each National Agency for Education (SEA) based on the guidelines in Title 1. Each SEA then allocates funds to local agencies. Education (LEA) based on their Title 1 and Wealth Status, as well as their submitted stimulus plans and budgets.
The CARES law requires higher education institutions to spend half of their allocated funds on student financial aid scholarships for expenses related to disrupted campus operations due to the coronavirus. The remaining funds can be used for additional emergency student assistance grants or to cover costs associated with significant changes in the delivery of education due to the coronavirus.
Recovery plans assess four components: academic, physical and structural, business and social function, emotional and behavioral. As LEAs develop their recovery plans, they are either asked or advised to consult with local education stakeholders, including administrators and teacher organizations and unions, to provide a high level visibility into their budgets and plans, and obtain approval of documents by procurement officials, the superintendent, the local school board, legal staff, state school supervisory authorities and their Respective HEIs.
As students across the country sign off for summer vacation, the work has only just begun for university leaders, who must make critical decisions regarding the 2021/2022 school year. The priority for many is how to leverage ESSER and HEERF funding to deploy solutions that will allow a safe return to full-time in-person learning in the fall.
To guide the policy process, here are three key areas that academic decision makers should consider when determining an approach for in-person teaching:
- Reduce contact points: Limiting points of contact on campus is essential to create a healthy environment where students and teachers can resume their daily activities. Replacing traditional common touch points, such as classroom, hallway, and bathroom doors, with non-contact solutions, such as arm and foot handles or electrified door operators, can reduce considerably the risk of transmission of viruses and germs. Air stops and brackets can also be used to reduce contact points in high traffic areas during the day.
- Extend access control with every opening: Expanding access control to doors and other openings on campus can help manage traffic, limit the number of people in an area at any given time, and allow educators to quickly and easily adapt functionality of a space. Wireless locks provide a simple and affordable way to expand access control to more doors and more applications, giving you greater control throughout a school or campus. These wireless locks can be operated and monitored remotely to close rooms that need to be cleaned or to implement a full safety lock in an emergency.
- Think about aesthetics: While reducing the spread of germs has been a top priority during the pandemic, schools still need to consider many other aspects of student / teacher safety and well-being. And today, there are more solutions than ever before to meet the range of needs of a school environment without disrupting the learning environment. For example, there are many exterior door and classroom options that provide increased durability performance or improved visibility and resistance to attack without disrupting the aesthetic flow of the learning environment. These options can provide added security and peace of mind without harming the mental health of the students and faculty the doors protect.
While there are many considerations and decisions to be made before the new school year, the good news is that there are a variety of access control solutions on the market to meet the specific needs of each school and ensure a safe return to school full time. person learning. Learn more about the ESSER Fund on the ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions website.
Ron Baer is Director of Business Development-K12 at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions