Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (14th District of Michigan)
Detroit, MI – Today, U.S. Representative Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14) applauded the U.S. Department of Education’s approval of Michigan’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and distributed remaining ARP ESSER funds to the state. Michigan’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 while also equitably expanding opportunities 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 support for students, parents, educators, and school communities to help 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. Michigan is receiving $3.7 billion total in ARP ESSER funds, and today’s approval of their plan will result in the release of the final $1.2 billion. Today’s approvals mean a total of 41 ARP ESSER state plans have been approved since June.
“This pandemic has taken a huge toll on our education system. While we work to get the United States back on track, I’m thrilled that the Department of Education approved Michigan’s plan to use valuable American Rescue Plan resources to support our schools,” said Rep. Brenda L. Lawrence. “I’m especially proud to have fought for this funding in the COVID stimulus package, and I’m grateful that the Biden Administration is leading the way to building back better. This funding will significantly help in maintaining the health, safety, and success of our students, teachers, and school staff.”
“I am excited to announce approval of Michigan’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.”
The ARP ESSER state plans approved by the Department today, including Michigan’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:
- Returning to In-Person Learning in 2021: All traditional public school districts are operating predominantly in-person this year, and all students have access to in-person learning.
- Safely Reopening Schools and Sustaining Safe Operations: The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has promoted collaborative partnerships between districts and local health departments to conduct vaccination clinics. In partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the MI Safe Schools Testing Program supports schools in providing COVID-19 testing to allow for safe, in-person learning. MDHHS is providing over $24 million in additional federal funding to school districts and local public health departments to hire 220 Health Resource Advocates to effectively support school-based COVID-19 testing and reporting.
- Addressing the Academic Impact of Lost Instructional Time and Expanding Summer and Afterschool Programs: School districts that receive state reserve funds will select evidence-based interventions that address the academic and social-emotional needs of their student populations that are most impacted by the pandemic. Districts will complete additional budget information and documentation on how they will use ARP ESSER funds for students disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.