This is Dennis from Burbio and below is our weekly update. Feel free to share.
For a copy of the presentation from Burbio's recent webinar titled "Find Out What is In $80 Billion of ESSER III Spending" email@example.com.
This week we look at districts revising policies in the face of rising Covid 19 rates, put some numbers on planned ESSER III spending on Mental Health and Physical Health, and look at how ESSER III dollars are being deployed on safety and security.
Even as just 2%of the Top 500 school districts require masks andschool disruptionshave dropped dramatically, Covid 19 rates have resulted in a shift in tone in some districts and a shift in policy in others. A snapshot from nine states:
Back on April 19th Chelsea Public Schools, MA voted to go mask optional on May 9th, but when that date arrived things changed. "When that vote occurred, COVID-19 rates were lower than they are right now," reported the district this past week. "As of today, the CDC has identified the Suffolk County COVID-19 community level as “High”, which includes a recommendation to wear masks indoors. Therefore, we will continue with our mask requirement."
Chappaqua Central School District, NY has made several adjustments in relation to rising Covid 19 rates, including moving elementary and middle school lunches and assemblies outside (weather permitting), postponing several concerts into mid-June, and opening windows on buses and in classrooms as much as possible.
Across many districts where masks are still optional, we are seeing a shift in tone. Cambridge Public Schools, MA announced a "Mask Advisory," writing "we are encouraging our entire school community to mask, particularly when we are indoors. Please note that we are NOT reinstating a requirement but advising mask use based on current data."
Laytonville Unified School District, CA reports an increase in Covid 19 case rates and “CDPH currently strongly recommends (bold emphasis theirs) that individuals…continue to mask in indoor settings. Masking will continue to be an important layer of protection along with the continued recommendations around vaccinations, testing and ventilation, to keep schools a safe environment, even as case rates and hospitalizations decline.” Union School District, CA added a mask mandate back in just one elementary school due to case rates in that facility.
District 300, Algonquin, IL reports "some District 300 schools are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases" and "While masking in District 300 remains optional (bold emphasis theirs) per the CDC guidance, District 300 recommends (emphasis theirs) students and staff wear face masks in the school setting."
Baltimore City Schools, MD posted that the Baltimore City Health Commissioner "recommended wearing a mask in indoor public spaces. We encourage – but do not require – that people follow the recommendation of the Baltimore City Health Department."
Burbio's ESSER III database now consists of over 4,400 district spending plans covering 70%+ of US K-12 public school students. The majority of districts are spending on mental-health related categories, and this week we drill down on the figures. Below is a chart indicated the percentage of districts spending in the category by NCES locale, as well as the average spend per pupil in those districts.
The following chart gives an overview of the sub-categories that make up that spending, as well as the percentage of districts spending on those subcategories:
Safety and security appears across almost 10% of ESSER III spending plans. Some examples:
Scottsboro City School District, AL ($3.94MM) will use some funds to "upgrade security camera systems in all schools to assist in contact tracing to mitigate the spread of COVID; install control access doors to mitigate the spread of COVID in high traffic areas . . .(install) an emergency intercom system within all school campuses within the district to reduce the number of assemblies during the year to ensure proper social distancing and reduce the occurrences of creating large crowds. . . "
Desert Sands Unified School District, CA ($55.9MM) will hire a patrol agent to "address increased transient problems, theft at school sites, and safety monitoring," buy software that "aligns with state-based disaster and emergency requirements and allows schools to manage needs, to include prevention, response and recovery," as well as purchase a variety of cyber-security related software and network upgrades. Twin Rivers Unified, CA ($121.7MM) will spend just over $2.3MM on salaries for police and a campus safety specialist.
Espiranza Academy Charter School, PA ($11.5MM) - will "upgrade the HS main entrance security station to offer protection for the security staff as well as the management of new technology and safety protocols," add "Signage (to) identify check-in points, traffic lows, entry points, security check-ins, etc. and post signage throughout the school buildings to indicate these expectations," plus purchase sprinklers and fire alarms.