4 Minute Read

Back to School Image with MaskThe Coronavirus has had a significant, negative impact on schools and students, particularly due to remote learning. While most institutions in Pennsylvania will return to in-person learning 5 days a week, the CDC just announced they recommend all students, including those who are vaccinated, to continue wearing masks. The CDC recognizes that the virus is very much still present and may pose a threat to in-person learning (again). In addition, the PA Department of Health recognized there may be a need for short-term transitions to remote learning again, which means a school may need to go fully remote if the virus begins spreading again. Being pro-active is more important than ever. 

Remote learning can take a toll on students and learning, so avoiding it is important for the 2021-2022 school year.  In the 2020 school year, only 2.1% of classes offered full time in-person classes, and it's been difficult for students and faculty to deal with the aftermath. The federal government recognized the extreme importance of in-person instruction, and continues to provide funding to schools and districts to help mitigate risk and purchase necessary resources. 

Pennsylvania School Funding

Federal Emergency Relief Under The CARES Act

A variety of funding exists for educational institutions under the CARES Act. These funds are intended to help schools and educational organizations recover from the negative impact of COVID-19, and improve safety in interior spaces with pro-active measures.

ESSER, GEER and EANS funds all allow the purchase of sanitizing equipment and improvements in ventilation systems. Thus, many schools are using these federal funds to purchase UV-C equipment. In the next few paragraphs, we'll explain more about UV and why it's becoming a very popular disinfecting tool. 

Be Pro-Active Against COVID with UV-C Light

While masks, sanitization stations, and dividers are viable safety measures, the best way to combat the virus and stay pro-active is with extra disinfection. UV germicidal light is by far one of the most effective methods in eliminating germs and viruses from your interior spaces. UV-C light has been used in hospitals and medical offices for many years, and is now becoming increasingly popular in educational facilities because of its effectiveness and safety. 

This type of disinfection is especially important for schools because it not only kills Coronavirus, but it can kill other common illnesses that spread throughout schools including: Noroviruses, E.Coli, the flu, MRSA, and the common cold.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania is one of many schools and universities using UV-C technology to disinfect interior spaces. Many schools across the country have already purchased UV-C equipment, and several are using federal funding to do so.

Purchasing UV-C Light With Federal Funding

Pennsylvania Allocations from CARES Act 

If funds are not used, they must be returned to the state, so it makes sense to use the funds and put them towards good use! Below are the timelines for usage of funds:

ESSER Funding Types

ESSER I (Signed into effect May 2020)

ESSER II (Signed into effect January 2021)

ARP ESSER (Signed into effect March 2021)

ESSER I

Congress allocated $13.2 billion to educational institutions under the CARES Act in March 2020. Of this large sum, Pennsylvania received $523.8 million, with $471.4 million directly allocated to school districts and charter schools (based on Title I-A from 2019).1  

Non-Public Schools and ESSER I funds: School districts that receive CARES Act funding must also provide equitable services to nonpublic schools.

 How does UV-C fit into ESSER I funds?  These funds may be spent on a wide range of allowable activities including:

  • Minimizing the spread of infectious disease and purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean LEA facilities

 Deadline for ESSER I: 
An SEA or LEA has until September 30, 2022 to obligate the ESSER I funds received.

ESSER II Funds

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA Act), enacted on December 27, 2020, included an additional $53.4 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II Fund). ESSER II funds were intended to support COVID-19 response efforts and may be spent on a wide range of allowable activities. Pennsylvania received approximately $2.22 billion for the ESSER II allocation

 How does UV-C fit in ESSER II funds? These funds may be spent on a wide range of allowable activities including:

  • School facility repairs and improvements that enable schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards.
  • Inspecting, testing, repairing, and other projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, and control systems

 Deadline for ESSER II: 

An SEA or LEA has until September 30, 2023 to obligate the ESSER II funds received.

American Rescue Plan (ARP) ESSER

The ARP Act, enacted in March 2021, was essentially an addendum to the prior ESSER funding guidelines. This extension of ESSER funding included construction, renovation, and other facility projects as potential allowable uses of ARP ESSER funds. 

 How does UV-C fit in ARP ESSER funds? These funds may be spent on a wide range of allowable activities including:

  • Sanitization equipment and facility & ventilation improvements

 Deadline for ARP ESSER: 

There is no deadline to apply for ARP ESSER funds, however, it is encouraged that all eligible school districts and charter schools apply by September 1, 2021.

An SEA or LEA has until September 30, 2024 to obligate ARP ESSER funds received

GEER Funds

GEER I

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized Governor Wolf to determine the use of Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds.

Funding allocations were distributed to support preschool and early intervention, postsecondary institutions and adult basic education providers, career and technical education centers (CTCs), students with special needs, historically underserved students, high-speed internet connection, and continuing education and equity grants.

GEER II

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA Act), enacted on December 27, 2020, provided new support for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund program originally created by CARES Act.

 GEER II Funds allocated $197 million split into two categories of funding:

1.) Educational Assistance for Nonpublic Schools (EANS)

2.) Other:

  • $8,075,000 of PA GEER II Funds to private residential rehabilitative institutions (PRRIs), Approved Private Schools (APS), Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind (CSDB)s
  • $20,000,000 of the PA GEER II Funds to area career and technical education centers (CTCs). 
  • $14,000,000 of the PA GEER II Funds to community colleges
  • $5,000,000 of the PA GEER II Funds to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE)

 Deadline for obligating GEER funds: 

Funds from GEER I must be obligated by September 30, 2022

Funds from GEER II must be obligated by September 30, 2023

EANS - The Governor of each State must provide assurance that the SEA will obligate funds requested by eligible non-public schools within six months of receiving its allocated funding.

Where to Go From Here...

Each of these funds include UV-C as an allowable cost. If your school or district hasn't used up all your funds and you’d like to learn more about Germicidal UV lighting, contact Stouch Lighting! We’ll create a customize UVC plan for your institution and help you choose the right products for your space. You can also schedule a call with one of our specialists below:

Tell Us More About Your Project

To return to the main CARES Act page, click here.

https://www.education.pa.gov/Schools/safeschools/emergencyplanning/COVID-19/CARESAct/May2020/Pages/FAQs.aspx