June 7, 2021 - In March of 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, emergency funding was issued in response to the many challenges that occurred, particularly students being sent home and adjusting to an online learning environment.
This funding is referred to as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, also known as ESSER I, II, and III. All levels of funding have specific requirements and deadlines for use.
Sanitizing materials, and similar supplies necessary to maintain school operations during and after the COVID-19 pandemic
Reallocation of unappropriated funds – Spring/Summer 2021. Majority accounted for and usage by September 2023. Low level of purchase.
Allowable expenses for ESSER II are similar to ESSER I, with a few notable additions: ventilation upgrades, facilities improvements to address health issues, and learning loss remediation are now explicit. ESSER II is in addition to any previous or available funds.
ESSER II allocations are based on a district’s share of the total FY21 Title I funds distributed to districts in the state.
To apply for an FY21 ESSER II grant (for those districts planning to use ESSER II funds in FY21), the deadline was March 30, 2021. To apply for an FY22 ESSER II grant (for those districts not planning to use ESSER II funds in FY21), the deadline is June 30, 2021.
If applying as an FY22 grant: July 1, 2021 (or the date after that when an approvable application is received) – June 30, 2022.
The federal grant multi-year feature (known as the Tydings Provision) applies to this grant and therefore allows the grant to be extended into "Year 2" or "Year 3" as needed, making the maximum extension of the end date of this grant September 30, 2023.
The American Rescue Plan Act, passed on March 11, 2021, provided $122.7 billion in supplemental ESSER funding, known as the ESSER III fund.
State submissions must be in by June 7, 2021. There is some debate around this section of the funding regarding the mode of instruction. Specifically, the number of schools in your State that are offering fully remote or online-only instruction; both remote/online and in-person instruction (hybrid model); and/or full-time in- person instruction must be outlined in order to obtain approval.
Fortunately, no matter the mode of instruction, Clear Touch has a solution. All modes including hyflex are addressed with minimal educational delivery disruption, a key element in appropriation of funding. The Department of Education has also emphasized that teacher retention is also key and again, Clear Touch provides tools and capabilities that aids teachers and makes their instruction easier and more compelling regardless of the teaching method,
Practical Uses of this Funding:
Facilities improvements to address health issues and maintain a clean learning space is an approved use of funding and will help schools establish and maintain a more sanitary environment.
Below are a few Clear Touch products that are eligible for purchase under the CARES Act that would directly meet those needs:
- Gel – sanitizer station with built-in messaging system
- Sho – cloud-based remote content management system
- Evo – digital display screen on wheels
- Sho Stick – on-the-go device that can turn a display into a signage play with Sho software
For product descriptions, visit https://www.getcleardigital.com/digital-displays/.
Learning loss remediation is also a large part of the available funding. The impact of the pandemic on teachers has been significant inside and outside of the classroom. Summer schooling and make-up days may be impacted due to the need for teachers to rest and recover from a very difficult year.
Below is a list of Clear Touch products that will aid in effective utilization and best available instruction to diverse audiences of in-class and/or remote learners while still achieving high levels of engagement:
- Snow.live – online teacher platform with ready-to-use lesson plans and activities
- Canvas Online – infinite live whiteboard available through Snow.live account
- Interactive Panel – interactive display with brilliant displays and intuitive controls
- Professional Development – team of former educators ready to help
For more information, visit https://www.getcleartouch.com/.
Support for Local Education Agencies (LEAs):
Clear Touch effectively supports LEAs with products that help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, while also re-enforcing protocol with products like Gel, Evo, Sho, and the Sho Stick. These are all easily implemented and work to enhance school messaging.
Support for State Education Agencies (SEAs):
It is important that the abundance of federal funding be used fairly and proportionately for all students, including but not limited to: students from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, racial or ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, children and youth in foster care, and migratory students.
With Clear Touch products like Snowflake, which offers a multilingual, engaging curriculum base, diverse groups of students can all experience the same activities and lessons.
Our stands and mounts also guarantee that students with physical disabilities will be able to work with our technology, as our panels can be lowered to ground-level or tilted to a tabletop position.
In terms of software and usability, Clear Touch solutions aid learning by making the teacher’s job easier. Less personal time is required to generate activities, measure performance, create in-class and hybrid lessons, and provide a safe interactive experience with Collage and online, cloud-based applications from personal devices.
Clear Touch makes learning fun, whether that be in a traditional classroom setting or from remote locations. The CT full-time professional development team provides training and coaching so teachers are proficient and comfortable using the technology to the benefit of the student.
For additional information about the CARES act and details regarding funding allocation and use, please refer to the following sources:
- ESSER Funding Guide
- Education Stabilization Fund
- Relief Fund Tracker
It is our hope at Clear Touch that these funds, while distributed due to unfortunate circumstances, will be put to good use in advancing education and creating safer learning environments for all students. Our products speak to many of the needs revealed during the pandemic and beyond, and we will continue to release brilliant products designed to make learning fun, accessible, and engaging.