Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the approval of Nevada’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and distributed remaining ARP ESSER funds to them. Nevada’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 and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most, particularly those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As schools and states begin the new school year, the Department released the Return to School Roadmap, which provides key resources and supports for students, parents, educators, and school communities to 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. Nevada is receiving more than $1 billion total in ARP ESSER funds, and today’s approval of their plan will result in the release of the final $358 million. Additionally, the Department approved plans for Idaho, Maine, and North Carolina. Today’s approvals mean a total of 37 ARP ESSER state plans have been approved since June. The Department has approved plans supporting more than 50 percent of students nationwide.
“I am excited to announce approval of Nevada’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 look ahead to 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.”
“Our Nevada ARP ESSER state plan prioritizes supporting the social, emotional, and mental well-being of our students, educators, and staff; addressing the impacts of interrupted learning; and recruiting and retaining the effective educators needed to meet those goals,” said Nevada State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert. “I am infinitely proud of our state’s innovative and inclusive COVID-19 response and recovery, and we look forward to using this turning point to reimagine our education system and ensure equitable access to high-quality learning opportunities for every student.”
“I worked hard to make sure the American Rescue Plan included funding to get kids back into classrooms and help Nevada’s teachers and schools get the resources they need to support our students every day,” said Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. “Addressing the mental health crisis affecting our kids has been a top priority for me, and Nevada’s plans demonstrate the state’s commitment to supporting students in and outside of the classroom. I’m so pleased to see these plans for using this money have been approved by the Department of Education, so these dollars can get into our communities and support our students.”
“Prior to coming to Congress, I spent my career working in education, and I know just how tough this pandemic has been on our students and teachers,” said Rep. Susie Lee. “I was proud to vote to pass the American Rescue Plan, which included robust funding for schools, and now—thanks to that funding—our kids are safely back in school. But there is so much work to be done to support students, both socially and academically, after a year of distance learning. I’m so glad to see that Nevada will be receiving these funds to help address learning loss and get our students the resources they need to succeed.”
“Nevada’s students, teachers, and families have faced unprecedented hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic—but today, help is here. The Biden-Harris Administration and Congress secured much-needed education relief funding through the American Rescue Plan, and I am glad to see the Department of Education approve Nevada’s plan to use these funds,” said Rep. Steven Horsford. “Nevada’s ESSER III allocation will help us keep students safe and address the learning loss of the past year, which has taken a disproportionate toll on students of color, students with special education needs, English language learners, and those in rural and low-income communities.”
“This pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for students, educators, and parents in Southern Nevada,” said Rep. Dina Titus. “We need to ensure these critical funds provided by Congress in the American Rescue Plan will provide Nevada schools the resources they need to help students safely return to in-person learning, address learning loss in disadvantaged communities, and provide wrap-around services for underserved students disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”
The ARP ESSER state plans approved by the Department today, including Nevada, 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:
- Safely Reopening Schools and Sustaining Safe Operations: For the 2021-2022 school year, the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) provided guidance and resources to ensure safe and welcoming learning environments for all students and maximized opportunities for in-person learning. In addition to detailing emergency plans for distance education in their reopening plans, Nevada districts continue to promote vaccinations among teachers, staff, families, and eligible students by providing information about COVID-19 vaccination, encouraging vaccine trust and confidence, and establishing supportive policies and practices that make getting vaccinated as easy and convenient as possible.
- Investing in Expanded Afterschool Programs: NDE will award $10.7 million in funds reserved for afterschool programs to districts through a competitive grant process that ensures afterschool programs are evidence-based and address the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on traditionally underserved student groups. Based on stakeholder feedback and data, the afterschool programs will support early learning, instructional support, credit recovery, and social and emotional support for students.
- Supporting Students’ and Educators’ Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Needs: NDE will allocate $7.5 million to support districts and charter schools in hiring 100 additional school-based mental health professionals, including school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, and school mental health workers. Additionally, NDE will spend $1.7 million to hire a Multi-Tiered System of Support coach for every district.
A total of 49 states, and the District of Columbia, have submitted their ARP ESSER state plans to the Department. The Department is reviewing the plans expeditiously and is in contact with states to ensure their plans meet all necessary requirements in order to access the remaining funds, as outlined in the ARP.
The distribution of ARP ESSER funds is part of the Department’s broader effort to support students and districts as they work to reengage students impacted by the pandemic, address inequities exacerbated by COVID-19, and build our education system back better than before. In addition to providing $130 billion for K-12 education in the American Rescue Plan to support the safe reopening of K-12 schools and meet the needs of all students, the Biden-Harris Administration also has:
- Launched the Return to School Roadmap to provide key resources and supports for students, parents, educators, and school communities to build excitement around returning to classrooms this school year and outline how federal funding can support the safe and sustained return to in-person learning
- Released three volumes of the COVID-19 Handbook
- Held a National Safe School Reopening Summit
- Prioritized the vaccination of educators, school staff and child care workers. As of the end of May an estimated 84% of teachers and school staff were fully vaccinated.
- Provided $10 billion in funding for COVID-19 testing for pre-K-12 educators, staff, and students
- Launched a series of Equity Summits focused on addressing inequities that existed before, but were made worse by the pandemic
- Released a report on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on underserved communities
- Developed a Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse elevating hundreds of best practices to support schools’ efforts to reopen safely and address the impacts of COVID-19 on students, educators, and communities.
In addition to the actions the Biden Administration has taken to reopen schools, the President has proposed critical investments through his Build Back Better Agenda that will enable schools to rebuild stronger than they were before the pandemic, such as investing billions to build a diverse educator workforce, expand access to pre-K to all families, and invest in school infrastructure, among other provisions.