Billions of dollars in federal bailouts remain unused when schools fight Omicron | Chicago News

Due to the recent surge in coronavirus, some schools are having a hard time accepting face-to-face learning, but lack of money is not a problem. (Brandon Bell / Getty Images)

(CNN) — Some schools struggle to stay open for face-to-face learning Due to the latest coronavirus surge — But lack of money is not a problem.

Much of the $ 190 billion that Congress approved for schools in the early days of the pandemic has not yet been used. By the end of November, less than 20% of federal funding had been spent in most states, according to the latest US Department of Education. data..

Chad Aldeman, Policy Director at Georgetown University’s Research Center Edunomics Lab, said:

“Currently, there are few districts where money is an issue to resume a decision. If you want to give a mask to all students and staff, if you want to send a device to each student, you can do that. “Aldeman added.

Federal funding can be used for a wide range of pandemic-related needs, including purchasing masks and Covid-19 tests, adding staff, and providing retention bonuses to teachers. However, if the district’s funding does not anticipate a surge in the latest cases, especially caused by the highly contagious variant of the Omicron coronavirus, it can quickly fill vacant positions or be sufficient. It is not possible to get a good test.

“Currently, many of the reopening decisions are driven by non-financial factors,” said Ardeman.

School has 3 years to spend money

Covid bailouts from three different laws are about the same amount of federal investment. 6 times the amount Basic funds for the 2021 fiscal year.

Congress has given schools for more than three years to spend the latest and greatest funding provided by the American Rescue Program passed in March. With a total of $ 128 billion, it is unlikely to be used all at once, especially if it is used to improve teacher salaries or long-term paid capital.

Funds are first sent to the state institution, which, for example, makes a purchase or pays a refund to the local school district. The Ministry of Education released two-thirds of the money to the state in March and remitted the rest of the money after the state’s funding plan was approved. The department approved the final state plan submitted by Florida last week.

“There are some things that schools want to spend money on right away to meet their urgent needs, but there is a balance of strikes,” said Danny, Deputy Managing Director of Policy and Advocacy for the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Carlson says.

“Omicron has shown why it is important to strategically budget for a pandemic as it continues to evolve,” he added.

Due to the decentralization of the US school system, it is difficult to track when and how school districts are spending money. According to experts, the data collected is too vague to reveal how accurately money is being spent or to determine how it affects students. State portals are usually updated more frequently than federal tracking systems.

According to a review of state spending plans by FutureED, a nonpartisan think tank at Georgetown University, spending on staffing, summer learning and after-school programs, HVAC systems, mental health programs, and technologies that support distance learning are top priorities. Is part of. ..

School is confused

Unpredictable school closures and reopenings Exhausted parentsYou need to scramble to find childcare, and you also need to worry about your child’s mental health and good education.

Many schools delayed reopening in early 2022 and chose to extend winter vacation due to the surge in Omicron. According to data companies, the majority of schools operated normally, but more than 5,000 schools did not offer face-to-face learning for at least one day in the first two weeks of January. Brubio, Aggregate data based on school calendars and other sources.

Larger districts such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta have returned to face-to-face learning this week, as have other districts such as Cincinnati and Indianapolis public schools. Virtualization This is also due to the high case rate of Covid-19 and the absence of teachers.

“In fact, some districts were better able to cope with the latest surges than others. Leadership and planning are influencing,” says Carlson.

of Washington DC, When Richmond, VirginiaFor example, the school district has made it possible to pick up a free Covid-19 test before students return to school after winter vacation.

Biden is sending more Covid-19 tests

Some federal lawmakers are feeling pressure to respond to that moment. Despite the availability of funds, there was a debate at Capitol Hill about passing another economic bailout package before negotiations stalled in late December. CNN reported.

President Joe Biden Said recently The school must remain open and there is money to do so.

“You know, they have what they need for an American rescue program,” he said.

But House majority leader Steny Hoyer gave reporters Tuesday more money for the White House to test, vaccine, and “to secure resources for schools to keep themselves safe” to Congress. He said he was expecting to demand that he do.

on Wednesday, Biden administration announces Plan to start distributing 5 million free rapid tests and 5 million free PCR tests to schools each month. Public health experts have repeatedly emphasized the need for extended Covid-19 testing in schools, but it is unclear whether 10 million free tests per month will have a broad or significant impact. 48 million students I am enrolled in grade K-12 nationwide.

Recent decisions by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Shorten the number of days Infected teachers and staff need to be quarantined in 10 to 5 days, which helps alleviate staffing problems in some schools.

Billions of dollars in federal bailouts remain unused when schools fight Omicron | Chicago News

Source link Billions of dollars in federal bailouts remain unused when schools fight Omicron | Chicago News

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