The landmark American Rescue Plan, which Congress approved during the week of March 8, will direct $6.5 billion in much-needed federal funding to Pennsylvania’s K-12 schools, helping schools to hire more educators and support professionals and reduce health risks in school buildings.
“The American Rescue Plan provides dedicated education funding that will help schools make in-person instruction as safe as it can be,” PSEA President Rich Askey said. “This funding will support efforts to modify school buildings to better accommodate social distancing and improve ventilation, furnish personal protective equipment to employees, and intensify support and instruction for students who have experienced delayed learning.
“We know that there is a lot of work to do, and these resources will help educators and support staff address the academic, mental health, and emotional support needs of our students going forward.”
The new law, which will allocate more than $130 billion to K-12 schools across the nation, will give schools the resources to reduce health risks and keep students and educators safe. The plan also makes extraordinary investments that will lift countless children and families out of poverty. Funds can be used to:
- Hire more teachers, support professionals, custodians, nurses, and counselors:
- Implement safety protocols and acquire PPE;
- Improve ventilation and HVAC systems;
- Help students deal with lost opportunities to learn they’ve endured this past year;
- Put devices and the internet in the hands of students who have been locked out of online learning; and
- Feed hungry students and provide assistance for homeless students.
Now that Congress has passed the American Rescue Plan, state and local leaders must work to get all students the support and resources they need and ensure schools have the tools needed to meet CDC guidelines and keep our students, educators, and schools safe.