School districts in Bedford County have been allocated additional stimulus funding from the state to help cover costs relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday announced $2.2 billion in federal stimulus funds will be used for K-12 school districts and charter schools affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to support food programs, technological improvements and other education services.
The Everett Area School District was allocated $1.27 million. Administrators there are looking to use the funding to offer additional summer school programs following a school year disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We started planning summer school options months ago,” Superintendent Dr. Danny Webb, noting the coursework will be aimed at assisting any students who have fallen behind or are wanting additional instruction. “This new money can help us offset the cost of the summer programing.”
Webb noted the district had been preparing to use its own money and possibly a portion of its 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding to cover the cost of its proposed summer programming.
Students in Everett have been learning through a “hybrid” education schedule that alternates between in-person and online education for most of the school year as part of the district’s efforts to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. The district switched to online only education on Nov. 16 due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the county, but was set to return to the hybrid model today.
Parents in the district were contacted last week and asked to complete a survey regarding their preferences of instructional models for the summer.
District leaders are hoping the summer school will connect students with teachers in-person.
“Everything is up in the air right now, but the hope is it will be in-person,” Webb said, adding the district is looking at transportation options.
While the programming has not been finalized, Webb said it will likely be multiple programs lasting about three weeks to account for the varying needs of students.
“High school remediation looks a lot different than elementary,” Webb said.
The federal relief is provided by the bipartisan Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) Fund passed by Congress in December.
The state Department of Education in a news release said school can use the ESSER funding for a wide range of activities, including food service, professional training, technology purchases, sanitization and cleaning supplies, summer and after-school programs and mental health supports.
The Bedford Area School District was allocated $1.65 million. The figure was significantly higher than the about $320,000 the district was awarded from the state last year to help cover costs associated with the pandemic.
“It’s a lot of money,” Superintendent Dr. Allen Sell said. “We will look at what’s allowable and what our deficits are.”
Sell said district administrators are still reviewing the funding guidelines and how it can be used.
“We’re analyzing how we can use it without creating a hole in future budgets,” he said. “... But we’re pleased to have it to help with the current situation.
The funding for other school districts in the county included: Chestnut Ridge School District, $1.4 million; Claysburg Kimmel School District, $1.16 million; Tussey Mountain School District, $858,000; Northern Bedford County School District, $831,000; and the HOPE for Hyndman Charter School, $133,000.