Adrian Board of Education approves amended Safe Return to In-Person Instruction plan

ADRIAN — Adrian Public Schools is expecting to receive another injection of federal pandemic relief funding.

The state of Michigan, now that it has concrete numbers, has told school districts how much they can expect to receive through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and a third round of funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.

Adrian is expecting to get almost $6 million.

Derrick Richards, Adrian's director of curriculum and instruction and state and federal programming, briefed the board of education about the district’s amended Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and the use of ARPA/ESSER II funds at the board’s Monday meeting. The board approved the Return to Learn plan and the district’s use of ESSER III funds at the conclusion of Richards’ briefing.

The update, he said, included an amended budget that showed all of the allocated funds to the district. An initial submitted budget in December did not include all of the funds due to the state of Michigan not having federal approval at the time for the Return to Learn plan.

Adrian, according to Richards’ presentation, is allocated an estimated $5,939,171 in funding to use through September 2024. At least 20% of this funding must be used to address learning loss brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the examples of the types of interventions and supports for which ESSER funds may be used include:

  • Summer learning, after-school tutoring and online learning.

  • Assessments and curricular materials.

  • Education technology.

  • Support for student groups that are disproportionally impacted by COVID-19.

  • Mental health services and family engagement.

  • Campus preparedness to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, such as improved ventilation systems and personal protection equipment.

  • Coordinating with other agencies to prevent and respond to COVID-19.

A couple of the big steps the district has taken with some its ESSER funding from previous rounds has been the hiring of a district nurse and several heating, ventilation and air conditioning projects that are slated to begin in the summer at Alexander and Michener elementary schools and at Adrian High School.

To be awarded funding, a multipage plan highlighting what the district would do with the funds, how those enhancements would keep the district safe from COVID-19, and if the items of consideration were aligned with community wants and needs expressed via surveys needed to be submitted to the state and federal government for review.

The ARPA and ESSER funds were enacted by the federal government in March 2021 as a means to rebound from the pandemic shutdowns.

Adrian’s Safe Return to In-Person Educational Plan was divided into several detailed sections touching base on topics such as:

  • Face masks and coverings in educational settings.

  • Hygiene measures throughout the district.

  • Cleaning and sanitizing efforts.

  • Continuing to offer athletics through the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

  • Testing and screening for COVID-19 illnesses.

  • Safe transportation options for students.

An initial allocation of funds when the district approved its Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction in December projected APS to receive $3,956,633.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Adrian Public Schools approves amended return-to-learn plan