In response to the coronavirus and increasing economic insecurity around the country, the U.S. federal government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020. The CARES Act includes $13 billion for elementary and secondary schools as well as another $3 billion for state governors to support schools in responding to COVID-19.
What are allowable uses of CARES Act ESSER funds?
Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds are generally unrestricted for use by LEAs. Anything schools use their regular federal funding for is allowable under ESSER, and generally anything necessary to help respond and recover from the coronavirus is allowable.
The ESSER program does include some specific allowable uses of the funding, though, related to technology use:
|ESSER allowable uses related to technology
||D2L Brightspace Solution
|Planning for and coordinating during long-term closures, including how to provide technology for online learning to all students
||Set up flexible learning options across your district based on student and community needs—blended, hybrid, or fully virtual. Seamlessly share messages to communicate about class activities, or connect face-to-face with students over video, all from right inside the Brightspace platform.
|Providing educational technology for all students that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors
|Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental after-school programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months
What is the GEER fund?
Funding provided to governors under the Governors Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund is separate from ESSER and its 10% allowable state set-aside. The GEER funds are generally unrestricted and may be used to support K–12 schools and institutions of higher education impacted by the coronavirus.
The CARES Act only requires that GEER spending fall into one of three categories:
- Emergency support to LEAs most significantly impacted by the coronavirus to continue to provide educational services to their students and to support the ongoing functionality of the local educational agency,
- Emergency support to institutions of higher education serving students within the state that have been most significantly impacted by the coronavirus to continue to provide educational services and support the ongoing functionality of the institution, and
- Support to any institution of higher education, LEA, or other education-related entity within the state that the governor deems essential for carrying out emergency educational services for students.