Information on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP Act), including the Elementary and Secondary School Relief (ESSER) Fund.
In response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the U.S. Congress passed American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021. This federal stimulus funding is the third act of federal relief in response to COVID-19, following the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27, 2020, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA Act) signed into law on December 27, 2020.
The main funding source for local educational agencies (LEAs) in the ARP Act is the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. The ARP ESSER Fund accounts for nearly $122 billion of funding for all states. The ARP Act also requires the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to reserve $800 million to support efforts to identify homeless children and youth, and provide such youth with comprehensive, wrap-around services that address needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and allows them to attend school and participate fully in all school activities. Additionally, within the ARP Act there is a program for non-public schools, the Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools II (EANS II) grant. The ARP ESSER funding provides LEAs with emergency relief funds to address the impact of COVID-19 on elementary and secondary schools across the nation.
Additional information and guidance will be added as it becomes available
ARP ESSER Funds
Section 2001(c) of the ARP Act requires the United States Department of Education to allocate the ESSER Fund based on the proportion that each State received under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) in the most recent fiscal year. Mississippi’s allocation for ARP ESSER is $1,627,197,854. Funds may be used for pre-award costs dating back to March 13, 2020, when the national emergency was declared. These funds are available for obligation by the state and subrecipients through September 30, 2024.
Each state must use no less than 90 percent of its allocation to make subgrants to LEAs, based on each LEA’s share of funds received under Title I, Part A in fiscal year 2020–21.
ARP ESSER Application for Funds
Guidance and links to the ARP ESSER Application for Funds will be updated soon.
ARP ESSER Allowable Uses
The ARP ESSER Funds can be used in much the same way as the ESSER I Funds under the CARES Act and ESSER II Funds under the CRRSA Act.
- Any activity authorized by the ESEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), or the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins).
- Coordination of LEA preparedness and response efforts with state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments, and other relevant agencies, to improve coordinated responses with other agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
- Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population.
- Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of LEAs.
- Training and professional development for LEA staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
- Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of an LEA, including buildings operated by such agency.
- Planning for, coordinating, and implementing activities during long-term closures, including how to provide meals, technology for online learning, guidance on IDEA requirements, and ensuring other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all applicable requirements.
- Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students served by the LEA that aids in regular and substantive educational interactions between students and their classroom teachers, including low-income students and children with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.
- Providing mental health services and supports, including through the implementation of evidence-based full-service community schools.
- Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
- Addressing learning loss among students, including low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care, of the local educational agency, including by–
- Administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable, to accurately assess students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction.
- Implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students.
- Providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment.
- Tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.
- School facility repairs and improvements to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student health needs.
- Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification, and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement.
- Developing strategies and implementing public health protocols including, to the greatest extent practicable, policies in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff.
- Other activities that are necessary to maintain operations and continuity of services and continuing to employ existing staff.
ARP ESSER Homeless Children and Youth
Mississippi has been allocated funds for ARP ESSER Homeless Children and Youth (HCY). These funds may be used in accordance with all allowable uses under the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth, including:
- Providing wraparound services (which could be provided in collaboration with and/or through contracts with community-based organizations, and could include academic supports, trauma informed care, social-emotional support, and mental health services);
- Purchasing needed supplies (e.g., PPE, eyeglasses, school supplies, personal care items);
- Providing transportation to enable children and youth to attend classes and participate fully in school activities;
- Purchasing cell phones or other technological devices for unaccompanied youth to enable the youth to attend and fully participate in school activities;
- Providing access to reliable, high-speed internet for students through the purchase of internet connected devices/equipment, mobile hotspots, wireless service plans, or installation of Community Wi-Fi Hotspots (e.g., at homeless shelters), especially in underserved communities;
- Paying for short-term, temporary housing (e.g., a few days in a motel) when such emergency housing is the only reasonable option for COVID-safe temporary housing and when necessary, to enable the homeless child or youth to attend school and participate fully in school activities (including summer school); and
- Providing store cards/prepaid debit cards to purchase materials necessary for students to participate in school activities.
Mississippi has been allocated funds for the Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS). This is known as EANS II. Similar to the CRSSA Act, Congress reiterated the need for non-public schools to participate in emergency education relief programs by establishing a separate program, rather than relying on the equitable services requirements that typically apply to elementary and secondary formula grant programs.
Consequently, LEAs are not required to provide equitable services for funds received under the ARP Act, though equitable services requirements continue to apply to CARES Act programs.
Guidance and links to the ARP EANS II Application for Funds will be updated soon.
LEAs will be required to report on any ARP Act funds that they receive. These funds must be tracked and reported separately from CARES Act and CRSSA Act funds. The MDE will update LEAs soon on the new reporting requirements. In the meantime, LEAs must continue to report on CARES Act and CRSSA Act funds.
ARP ESSER Plan Requirements
The ARP Act requires LEAs that receive ARP ESSER funds to complete a Safe Return to In-person Instruction and Continuity of Services plan. ED has issued requirements for this plan and has also required LEAs to complete an Expenditure Plan for the use of ARP ESSER funds.
- Safe Return Guiding Questions
- ARP ESSER "Look Fors" Document
- ARP ESSER (ARP ESSER) Fact Sheet
- ESSER Programs FAQ, May 2021
- Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Support Full-Service Community Schools & Related Strategies FAQ
- ARP ESSER State Plan Application Technical Assistance