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Department Of Education Approves MS ‘Rescue Plan’; Gives Additional $543M To Schools

U.S. Department of Education Approves Mississippi’s Plan for Use of American Rescue Plan Funds to Support K-12 Schools and Students, Distributes Remaining $543 Million To State


Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the approval of Mississippi’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and distributed the remaining ARP ESSER funds to the state. Mississippi’s plan details how the state is using and plans to use ARP ESSER funds to sustain the safe operation of schools and equitably expand opportunities for students who need it most, particularly those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


As of December, with the help of American Rescue Plan funds, nearly all schools are open for full-time, in-person instruction. The Department recently issued a new resource to state and local leaders stressing the importance of full-time, safe, in-person learning and how federal funds can be used to achieve that goal.


Earlier this year, the Department distributed two-thirds of the ARP ESSER funds, totaling $81 billion, to 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The remaining third of the funding to states will be made available once state plans are approved. Mississippi is receiving more than $1.6 billion total in ARP ESSER funds, and today’s approval of their plan will result in the release of the final $543 million. Today’s approvals mean a total of 51 ARP ESSER state plans have been approved since June.


“I am excited to announce the approval of Mississippi’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. The approval of these plans enables states to receive vital, additional American Rescue Plan funds to help keep schools open for full-time, in-person learning; meet students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs; and address disparities in access to educational opportunities 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.”


“Mississippi has prioritized in-person learning because it is the most effective way to keep students engaged, accelerate learning and address their social and emotional learning needs,” said Dr. Carey Wright, Mississippi state superintendent of education. “We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Education for its significant investment of ESSER funds in Mississippi. These funds will enable our schools to innovate learning and build strong and enduring systems of support to meet the current and future needs of our students.”


The ARP ESSER state plans approved by the Department, including Mississippi’s, 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: The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has encouraged districts to consider how to host vaccination drives on school campuses, in addition to sharing Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations and guidance on safe in-person instruction with schools and districts in the state. Mississippi schools have also utilized various strategies to increase vaccination rates in the schools and communities.


· Addressing the Academic Impact of Lost Instructional Time: MDE will use ARP ESSER funds to support high-dosage tutoring, summer learning and enrichment, and extended day programs through a competitive grant program to address students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs that the state is developing.


· Supporting Physical and Mental Health: MDE has launched a behavioral telehealth project in response to mental health concerns that may have been exacerbated by the pandemic, staffed by school staff. MDE is also using ARP funds for a pilot program to deliver mental and behavioral health care to children and increase educator knowledge about behavioral management techniques. Additionally, MDE has awarded funds to put 25 new medical staff on-site in schools.

1 comment
  1. Gloria
    January 1, 2022 at 12:30 pm


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