The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 will provide Pennsylvania with $4.9 billion in emergency funds to support the long-term work of education recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $4.9 billion, at least 90 percent of the funds will flow to eligible public school district and charter schools.  

Williamsport Area School District was allocated $17,686,571 through the ARP's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) grant. Funds from this grant may be utilized for various allowable expenses, as outlined in the grant, dating back to March 13, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2024.  The state’s priorities of this grant:  Return to In-Person Learning, Safely Reopening Schools and Sustaining Safe Operations, Addressing the Academic and Other Impacts of Lost Instructional Time, and Investing in Summer Learning and Expanded After-School Programs.

Additional ESSER funding available through ARP is intended to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our most vulnerable students. The funding should be used for mitigation strategies that include addressing the interrupted instruction, meeting students’ social, emotional, mental health and academic needs, summer programming, and staff capacity.

The initial CARES/ESSER grant received in spring of 2020 was used primarily to purchase the technology needed for remote instruction. Emergency relief funding received by WASD in its ESSER I grant so far has largely been used to support the technology infrastructure for distance learning during the 2020-2021 school year, and, subsequently, accelerate the district’s implementation of a new 1:1 Log In, Learn On initiative. Additionally, funds also have been used to purchase necessary personal protective equipment equipment, health screening devices, and sanitation and cleaning supplies for buildings and classrooms across the district to help slow the spread of COVID-19. For a more detailed list of allowable expenses, please refer to the Pennsylvania Department of Education Summary of ESSER Funding.

WASD is planning to utilize the allotted ESSER funding, in compliance with the grant requirements, to support our efforts and the general operating budget in employing a wide range of strategies to address needs in the areas of student academics, social, emotional and mental health, in the following ways:

  • Utilizing staffing models that employ the expertise of a building-based team composed of school counselor(s), a school psychologist and additional school nurses in each of our eight (8) school buildings by hiring additional trauma and mental health professional staff.
  • Upgrading our facilities to provide healthy learning environments
  • Purchasing educational materials for students in grades K-12 for learning recovery and/or accelerate learning to close any learning gaps.
  • Establishing a summer learning recovery program that extends the school year for our most vulnerable students.
  • Providing credit recovery services for secondary students.
  • Hiring long-term substitutes to assist with classroom coverage due to professional staff shortages.

ESSER Presentation Slides from Jan. 18, 2022, School Board Meeting