COVID Updates

EFFINGHAM UNIT #40

ARP ESSER III – Use of Funds Plan


This plan will be updated through the grant period depending on routine evaluations.

Definition
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in major changes to all aspects of life, including unprecedented school closure in the spring of 2020 and revised schedules and protocols in the fall of 2020. The ARP ESSER III - The American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) fund provides states and school districts financial assistance to safely reopen to sustain the safe operations of schools. In addition, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon the nation’s students will be addressed through ARP ESSER.

Purpose
The purpose of the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) fund is to provide states and school districts with assistance to safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s students.

Safe Return to In-person Instruction and Continuity of Services
The Effingham Unit #40 Back-to-School/Return to Learn Plan is aligned with the guidance provide by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). School strategies in this plan may be removed based upon local conditions, levels of community transmission (low, moderate, substantial, and high), local vaccine coverage, and consultation with local public health officials to determine the prevention strategies needed. School officials will communicate any changes in plans to staff members, students, and parents through the district communications platforms.

The full Back-to School/Return to Learn Plan can be found on the Unit #40’s website (www.unit40.org). The plan includes a description of how Effingham Unit #40 will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff. It will explain the extent to which it has adopted policies, and it will provide a description of policies and each of the prevention and mitigation strategies that will be implemented for the safety of all staff and students.

Community Input in regard to ESSER III Funds
Our monthly board meetings have agenda items for public comment. Community members are welcome to attend monthly meetings to share their concerns, ideas, etc. In addition, information will be solicited through stakeholder feedback as needed regarding COVID related issues.

Funds
Effingham Unit #40 will engage in consultation with students, families, school administrators, teachers, support staff and local unions. Funds will address student learning loss from the pandemic, as well as curriculum, air quality, transportation, and sanitation. Additional steps will be taken to ensure proper social distancing.
∙ Evidence based curriculum and related professional development to address learning loss and accelerate early literacy skills
∙ District wide online learning curriculum
∙ Additional teachers for classroom reduction (student to teacher ratio of physical distancing)
∙ Social and emotional learning programs
∙ Supplies to help district clean effectively
∙ Bring district into compliance with fire and safety codes to create more space
∙ Academic support through after-school and summer bride programs

Learning Loss
Effingham Unit #40 will allocate no less than 20% of its ESSER funds to address learning loss through implementation of evidence-based interventions. Interventions will be based on students’ academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19.

Additional Funds
All activities are approvable and are listed in Section 18003(d) of the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Section 313(d) of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, and Section 2001(e) of the ARP Act that an LEA may support with ESSER Funds.

Reporting
Effingham Unit #40 will submit all necessary reporting to ISBE. The district will report on funds spent and provide detail on specific interventions addressed. Examples are: specific interventions, after-school tutoring programs; additional staff to provide SEL assistance.

Maintenance of Equity
Effingham Unit #40 will not disproportionately reduce state and local per-pupil funding. The District will also not reduce the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff per pupil.


PLAN FOR SAFE RETURN TO IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION

 
On August 9, 2021, the Effingham Unit #40 School Board approved the Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services. This plan must be flexible moving forward. Therefore, the District may add or modify mitigation measures to classrooms, school buildings, or the entire District as needed during the 2021-22 school year. The District will monitor any additional information forthcoming from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Illinois Department of Health (IDPH), and Effingham County Health Department (ECHD). District officials will continue to collaborate and consult with Effingham County Health Department officials on various logistics and decision-making.


In the plan there are many details that school districts across Illinois will need to follow and enforce in the 2021-22 school year. While there may be disagreement in some aspects of these details, it is our hope that we can work together to continue to provide in-person learning to all of our students.

It is certainly understood that some do not agree with all aspects of the plan or the statewide mandate for masking. However, we ask that you please allow the school district staff to operate our schools within the parameters of the plan so we can provide a conducive learning environment for students. To be permitted into Unit #40 buildings, everyone must wear a mask.

We appreciate your understanding and support. Thank you for your continued feedback. Working together, we will have a positive 2021-22 school year.

To view the Unit #40 – Plan for Safe Return 2021-2022 and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), please click here.