ESSER III (ARP)
American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021. The ARP Act includes nearly $122 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Fund that allows state and local education agencies (LEAs) to take additional steps for continued safe in-person instruction and to address unfinished teaching and learning to mitigate the pandemic.
The ESSER III funding enables Nebraska school districts to promote safe school operations and equity-driven, sustainable, evidence-based programs to serve students – especially those who are the furthest from opportunity – and to continue to strengthen teaching and learning:
- consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools to the greatest extent practicable; address the many impacts of COVID-19 on students, including from interrupted instruction;
- implement strategies to meet students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs;
- offer crucial summer, afterschool, and other extended learning and enrichment programs;
- support early childhood education;
- invest in staff capacity; and
- avoid devastating layoffs at this critical moment, ensuring that all students have access to teachers; counselors, and other school personnel to support their needs.
The U.S. Department of Education (USED) released ED COVID-19 Handbook: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs, a resource for states, districts, and schools as they reopen and sustain safe supportive operations for students, educators, and families. (Volume 1)(Volume 2)
The Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) is committed to supporting school districts in implementing these unprecedented resources. In February 2021, the NDE released its Nebraska Framework for School Renewal & Acceleration, which serves as a guide to improve outcomes and secure investments for all Nebraska students through key shifts, components, and core actions for 2021 and beyond. Additionally, a call for “renewal” to recommit to serving students who have been historically marginalized, including students of color, students with disabilities, the economically disadvantaged, and English learners.