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ESSER II Fund Frequently Asked Questions

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) fund frequently asked questions and responses.

Acronyms

Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA); American Rescue Plan Act (ARP Act); Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act); California Department of Education (CDE); Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA Act); Community Violence Intervention (CVI); Emergency Assistance for Non-public Schools (EANS); Education Code (EC); Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA); Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER); Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Fiscal Year (FY); Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER); heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); local educational agency (LEA); Standardized Account Code Structure (SACS); state educational agency (SEA); School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV); science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); U.S. Department of Education (ED)

General

  1. Do LEAs need to apply for ESSER II funds? (Updated 18-Nov-2022)

    Yes. The ESSER II funding includes formula funds (90% of the state’s full allocation) which are allocated to LEAs based on FY 2020–21 Title I shares. LEAs must have applied for their allocation of ESSER II funds by submitting program assurances by December 17, 2021. A search tool can be found on the CRRSA Act Funding web page in order to see the application submission status for each eligible LEA. LEAs must have applied by April 20th, 2021, to be included in the first apportionment.

    The process for distribution of the remaining state reserve/set-aside funds (up to 10% of the total state allocation) has been finalized by the Legislature and Governor. California EC Section 43521(a)(1) allows for these funds to be made available for obligation through September 30, 2023 (unless otherwise provided in federal law), through the Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant (ELO-G) to eligible LEAs. More information about the ELO-G can be found on the COVID-19 Relief and School Reopening Grants web page.

  2. Do any supplement not supplant requirements apply to ESSER II funds?

    No. The ESSER II fund does not include a local supplement, not supplant requirement. Thus, there is no prohibition on an LEA using ESSER II funds to pay expenses formerly funded by another source.

  3. What are the allowable uses of ESSER II funds?

    An LEA may use ESSER funds for the broad range of activities listed in section 18003(d) of the CARES Act, section 313(d) of the CRRSA Act, and section 2001(e) of the ARP Act, based on guidance that what is allowable under one of the ESSER funds is allowable under all of the ESSER funds. Use of any ESSER funds (ESSER I, ESSER II, or ESSER III) must be in accordance with allowable uses in any of these three federal stimulus acts. Below is a consolidated list of allowable uses. Please note that these allowable uses categories will also be utilized during quarterly reporting on each of the ESSER funds.

    1. Any activity authorized by the ESEA, the IDEA, the AEFLA, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), or the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.
    2. Coordinating preparedness and response efforts of LEA with state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments, and other relevant agencies, to improve coordinated responses with other agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
    3. Providing principals and other school leaders with the resources necessary to address the unique needs of their individual schools.
    4. Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population.
    5. Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of LEAs.
    6. LEA staff training and professional development on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
    7. Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of an LEA, including buildings operated by such agency.
    8. Planning for, coordinating, and implementing activities during long-term closures, including how to provide meals, technology for online learning, guidance on IDEA requirements, and ensuring other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all applicable requirements.
    9. Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students served by the LEA that aids in regular and substantive educational interactions between students and their classroom teachers, including low-income students and children with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.
    10. Providing mental health services and supports, including through the implementation of evidence-based full-service community schools.
    11. Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
    12. Addressing learning loss among students, including low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care, of the LEA, including by–
      • Administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable, to accurately assess students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction.
      • Implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students.
      • Providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment.
      • Tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.
    13. School facility repairs and improvements to enable operation of schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student health needs.
    14. Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade 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, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement.
    15. Developing strategies and implementing public health protocols including, to the greatest extent practicable, policies in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff
    16. Other activities that are necessary to maintain operations and continuity of services and continuing to employ existing staff.
  4. What does it mean for ESSER and GEER funds to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the COVID-19 pandemic? (Added 7-Jan-2022)

    All ESSER and GEER funds must generally be used to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. On December 29, 2021, ED released supplemental guidance External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to the pre-existing Frequently Asked Questions External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) published in May 2021 related to the use of ESSER and GEER funds to clarify “What does it mean for ESSER and GEER funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?”

    In the supplemental guidance, ED encourages SEAs and LEAs to think holistically about their response to COVID-19 in order to address the impact of lost instructional time from the pandemic on all students and to address pre-existing challenges that, if left unaddressed, will impede recovery from the pandemic. The supplemental guidance supports broadening how funds may be used to address the impact of the pandemic and lost instructional time and provides examples of allowable uses. However, LEAs must still articulate in their spending plans how the cost or need is connected to or impacted by the pandemic.

    ED also emphasizes wording from the ESSER and GEER FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) published in May 2021: “These Federal emergency resources are available for a wide range of activities to address diverse needs arising from or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, or to emerge stronger post-pandemic, including responding to students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs and continuing to provide educational services as States, LEAs, and schools respond to and recover from the pandemic.”

    Please review the supplemental guidance External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) for the full text and examples of allowable uses.

  1. How long do LEAs have to use ESSER II funds?

    ESSER II funds are available for obligation by LEAs through September 30, 2023. Under 2 CFR 200.344(a), obligated ESSER funds must be liquidated within 120 calendar days following the end of the award period.

  2. Must LEAs pay existing contracts in order to receive ESSER II funds?

    Section 315 of the CRRSA Act External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) requires entities that receive ESSER II funds to continue to pay employees and contractors “to the greatest extent practicable.”

  3. Are ESSER II funds subject to an equitable services requirement?

    No, the CRRSA Act includes a separate program of EANS for which eligible non-public schools may apply to a SEA to receive services or assistance. Consequently, LEAs are not required to provide equitable services under ESSER II. More information can be found on the CDE EANS web page.

  4. Can Federal Stimulus Funds be used for CVI programs and strategies? (Added 2-Nov-2021)
    ESSER and GEER funds may be used for CVI programs and strategies to provide student support to reengage disconnected youth and reduce community violence in places where COVID-19 has exacerbated inequities and increased community and school violence. For more information on CVI strategies and funding, please reference ED’s guidance, How American Rescue Plan Funds Can Prevent and Respond to Crime and Promote Public Safety External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) and the Biden-Harris Administration’s Fact Sheet External link opens in new window or tab. .
  5. Can ESSER funds be used toward strategies for hiring and retaining qualified and effective educators and other staff? (Updated 9-Jan-2023)
    On December 16, 2021, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, sent out a letter to clarify that ESSER III funds authorized by the ARP Act may be used to support hiring and retaining qualified and effective educators, in alignment with the goal to provide safe, in-person learning and address the social, emotional, mental health, and academic impact of COVID-19. Because previous guidance from ED states that allowable uses of one ESSER fund are allowable under all three ESSER funds, this clarification additionally applies to ESSER I and ESSER II funds. The letter describes four evidence-based and promising short- and long-term strategies for addressing teacher and staff shortages that can be funded through ESSER funds:

    1. Increase educator and staff compensation
    2. Build and maintain a cadre of high-quality substitute teachers
    3. Support educator and staff well-being, including improved working conditions (including systems to support educator and staff well-being, increasing the availability of qualified adults and personnel to support educators, students, and staff, and implementing flexible and creative scheduling to support students for full-week in-person learning while providing planning and collaboration time for teachers.)
    4. Make investments in the educator pipeline


    For the full text of this letter, including more information and examples of each of these strategies, please reference the Letter from Secretary Cardona re: Addressing Teacher and Staff Shortages External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF; posted 16-Dec-2021).

    UPDATE (4-Mar-2022): Additionally, ED has released guidance that summarizes strategies LEAs can implement to address teacher and staff shortages, leveraging ESSER funds. For examples of strategies to address teacher shortages, please see the Using American Rescue Plan Funds and Other Federal Resources to Address Teacher Shortages fact sheet External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). For examples of strategies to address shortages of other staff, including nurses, social workers, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, custodial staff, and others, please see the Using American Rescue Plan Funds and Other Federal Supports to Address Staff Shortages fact sheet External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

    UPDATE (13-Jun-2022): ED released additional guidance on June 9, 2022, with the Sustaining Investments in Teachers Beyond the American Rescue Plan External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) fact sheet, which provides examples of how ESSER funds can be used to invest in strategies addressing teacher shortages. It also provides examples of other federal funding available that may be used for the same purposes to support the transition from ESSER funding to other available federal fund sources when the period of availability for ESSER funds has ended. This fact sheet acknowledges the ESSER funds are key to supporting immediate, short-term staffing needs, but other federal fund sources may be needed to sustain investments in teachers over time. ED will continue to provide resources and other assistance to states, districts, and schools as they work to address the teacher shortages in the short- and long-term.

    UPDATE (9-Jan-2023):
    In questions D-1 and D-1.a of the December 2022 revision of the ESSER and GEER Use of Funds FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), ED reaffirms that the strategies above may be allowable ways to use ESSER and GEER funds to stabilize and support the educator workforce. ED also provides new strategies to use ESSER and GEER funds in conjunction with funding and initiatives from other federal agencies to support this same goal. In particular, ED highlights that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. clarifying that, in some instances, retirees can return to work and still receive their pensions or remain on the job and begin receiving pension payments, where permitted.

  6. Can ESSER funds be used to support college and career readiness opportunities for students? (Added 18-Nov-2022)

    On November 14, 2022, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, released a "Dear Colleague" letter that encourages the use of ESSER II and ESSER III funds to support college and career readiness opportunities for students to address the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on post-secondary education and credential attainment crucial for economic security. The letter describes a number of strategies to support college and career readiness, including expanding access to dual enrollment opportunities, providing strong career and college advisement and navigation supports, expanding opportunities for high-quality work-based learning, and giving all students the option to earn industry-sought credentials. Allowable expenditures may include staffing, supplies, transportation, and costs related to expanding career centers that are reasonable and necessary to implement these strategies.

    Please see the full text of this letter External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) to review this guidance, examples of how LEAs are already using ESSER funds for these purposes, and corresponding research to support these uses.

  7. What are some examples of allowable expenditures LEAs are using stimulus funds for? (Added 10-Jan-2022)

    The following are examples of expenditures select LEAs provided when surveyed about how they were successfully and thoughtfully expending ESSER and GEER funds. All example expenditures were necessary for the surveyed LEA to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • Technology for classrooms and for every student
    • Maintaining and increasing classified and certificated staff numbers
    • HVAC upgrades and replacements
    • Additional portable classrooms and bathrooms to allow for social distancing
    • Roving substitutes
    • Personal Protective Equipment
    • Additional transportation
    • Contact tracing and testing
    • Attendance monitoring systems
    • Curriculum materials
    • Instructional supplies
    • STEM materials
    • Nutritional Services
    • Backpacks and school supplies
    • Implement or significantly expand sports programs
    • Expanding counselor and psychologist access
    • Social emotional learning resources
    • Parent and staff training
  1. How have other LEAs used Federal Stimulus Funds to support students? (Added 17-May-2022)

    CDE has performed outreach to LEAs of varying sizes and geographical locations to find and promote success stories with regards to how Federal Stimulus Funds have been used to benefit students. With increased funding from the ARP Act and other legislation that previously allocated Federal Stimulus Funds, many districts have used this funding in unique ways to help students. When contacted. almost every LEA pointed to three key areas of funding that have been incredibly successful: funding programs to mitigate student learning loss, increased funding for COVID-19 prevention, and expanded purchases of classroom technology. Allocating funds to address the impact of lost instructional time through afterschool and summer school programs have created opportunities for increased academic success and learning loss mitigation. Mitigating COVID-19 transmission at school has been a near-universal funding focus, with LEAs allocating funds to increase air filtration, testing, and other mitigation measures. LEAs throughout the state have also purchased computers and tablets while also spending more funds on implementing high-speed internet on campuses. These purchases have decreased the technology access gap among students.

    Unique Programs specific LEAs have implemented in response to COVID-19:

    • Hiring outside consultants to study equity within the LEA and offer suggestions to address learning loss for students who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Hiring more staff, specifically more psychologists coupled with increased mental health services, to ensure students with mental health issues are effectively served.
    • Increased special education funding to ensure special education students who were severely impacted by online learning can be helped.
    • Increased mental health services funding, as there has been an increase in mental health needs among students.
    • Literacy acceleration programs to ensure students acquire necessary literacy skills inside the classroom.
  2. Can an LEA use ESSER and GEER funds to respond to natural disaster-related damage to ensure that schools can open and remain open safely? (Added 9-Jan-2023)

    Yes, ED has indicated in the December 2022 revision of the ESSER and GEER Use of Funds FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) that, in limited circumstances, ESSER and GEER funding may be used for natural disaster-related damage response (e.g., fire or earthquake damage), as long as the expenditure fits in with the allowable uses of the applicable fund source and is used to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. ED has advised that LEAs may want to take advantage of any available funding, including through FEMA's Public Assistance program or the Department's Project SERV, prior to using ESSER or GEER funds for this purpose. To the extent there are activities that are necessary to meet students' needs in response to the pandemic, including needs exacerbated by a recent natural disaster, ESSER and GEER funds may be used to cover the costs consistent with the applicable allowability considerations (e.g., allowable under the statute and consistent with Uniform Grants Guidance).

  3. How may an LEA use ESSER and GEER funds to address chronic absenteeism? Can we offer incentives? (Added 9-Jan-2023)

    In questions C-11 and C-11.a of the December 2022 revision of the ESSER and GEER Use of Funds FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), ED provides additional guidance, strategies, and example allowable uses of ESSER and GEER funds for LEAs to address chronic absenteeism that has increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, ED describes strategies to locate and reengage students who are chronically absent and encourages LEAs to work with students and families to address underlying needs or barriers that are causing chronic absenteeism. Some examples of the recommended strategies include personal outreach by educators and support staff (including providing translation services or linguistically inclusive information), additional compensation for staff spending time outside their regular work hours to support student reengagement, hiring additional staff for student location and reengagement, actions on campus to develop routines and enrich the school community to prevent absenteeism, developing and implementing early warning systems, and developing and implementing recognition programs for regular attendance.

    However, in questions C-11 and C-23.a of the ESSER and GEER Use of Funds FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), ED explicitly states that ESSER and GEER funds may not be used to provide direct monetary rewards to students or families for school attendance, given that school attendance is a mandatory activity. Instead, any incentives funded by ESSER or GEER funds must be through support programs, activities, or similar strategies.

    For full lists of example allowable expenditures and relevant resources, please see the full text of these questions within the ESSER and GEER Use of Funds FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

  4. How may an LEA use ESSER and GEER funds to support English learners (also referred to as multilingual learners)? (Added 9-Jan-2023)

    In questions C-4 through C-4.c of the December 2022 revision of the ESSER and GEER Use of Funds FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), ED provides additional resources and examples to support LEAs in using ESSER and GEER funds to support the needs of multilingual learners and their families that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. ED encourages LEAs to use ESSER and GEER funds to address the specific needs of multilingual learners by addressing the impact of lost instructional time on students' social, emotional, and mental health in addition to academic achievement, supporting culturally responsive instruction, and supporting family engagement activities. Some recommended strategies include extending the school day or school year to recover lost instructional time, providing language accommodations for multilingual students and their families to better access available programming, developing and implementing formative and summative assessment strategies to better assess student needs, developing and expanding multilingual programs, offering asset-based scheduling practices to support meaningful access to core content classes, expanding community outreach and engagement with local organizations to support family engagement, and offering relevant professional development for teachers and other staff to support these goals.

    For full lists of example allowable expenditures and relevant resources, please see the full text of these questions within the ESSER and GEER Use of Funds FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

  5. Can LEAs use ESSER and GEER funds to provide meals for students or cover the cost of waiving outstanding school meals balances of students from low-income backgrounds? (Added 9-Jan-2023)

    Yes, in certain circumstances. In questions C-16 and C-16.a of the December 2022 revision of the ESSER and GEER Use of Funds FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), ED clarifies that ESSER and GEER funds can be used to provide meals for students or cover the costs of waiving the outstanding school meals balances of students from low-income backgrounds, if the need is related to COVID-19 response. ED also notes that additional food services needs may arise as a result of pandemic response, including the need for increased staff capacity, additional labor hours to meet new student needs, or additional equipment needs. These situations may also be appropriate uses of ESSER and GEER funds.

    However, ED recommends that LEAs use other funding already available specifically for these purposes (such as through the U.S. Department of Agriculture or other federal programs) first.

    For additional example allowable expenditures and relevant resources, please see the full text of these questions within the ESSER and GEER Use of Funds FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

  6. Can ESSER and GEER funds be used to support STEM education? (Added 9-Jan-2023)

    Yes, as it applies to COVID-19 response. On December 6, 2022, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, Cindy Marten, released a "Dear Colleague" letter External link opens in new window or tab. to clarify that federal funds, including ESSER and GEER funds, may be used to support STEM educational strategies. The letter asserts that improving STEM programming and access is critical for short-term learning recovery to address the impacts of COVID-19, and for "preparing students to address future challenges in a complex, interconnected world." The letter also notes how other federal funds may be used for advancing STEM education, which may support sustaining these programs beyond the allowable grant periods for ESSER and GEER funds.

    The letter additionally includes an enclosure External link opens in new window or tab. that provides examples of allowable expenditures and resources that fall into five categories:

    1. Implementing STEM learning acceleration programs that support students who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
    2. Redesigning STEM courses and learning experiences to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM.
    3. Increasing students' equitable access to STEM courses and experiences, including out-of-school-time programs, dual enrollment, STEM-themed schools, and career pathways.
    4. Recruiting, preparing, and supporting a diverse STEM educator workforce, increasing educators' knowledge and expertise in STEM, and equipping educators to meet the diverse needs of all students.
    5. Improving student access to materials and equipment needed to support inquiry-based pedagogy and active learning.


    Please see the full text of this letter External link opens in new window or tab. to review this guidance, examples of how LEAs can use federal funds for these purposes, and corresponding research to support these uses.

Funding

  1. How much funding was California awarded for ESSER II funds?

    The ESSER II fund accounts for approximately $54.3 billion of funding for all states and California’s allocation is $6,709,633,866. No less than 90 percent of its allocation ($6,038,670,479) must be used to make subgrants to LEAs, based on each LEA’s share of funds received under Title I, Part A in FY 2020–21. The remaining up to 10 percent may be used for the State reserve.

  2. Will the CDE post preliminary allocations?

    Yes, the CDE has posted LEAs’ revised allocations on the CRRSA Act Funding web page.

  3. Are LEAs that did not receive Title I funds in the most recent fiscal year eligible for ESSER II funds?

    With one exception, as described below, no, LEAs that did not receive Title I funds in FY 2020–21 are not eligible to receive ESSER II funds. LEAs receive ESSER II funds based on their relative share of FY 2020–21 Title I funds. If an LEA did not receive Title I funds in FY 2020–21—either because it was not eligible or because it declined funding—then it would not generate a share of ESSER II funds, and therefore not eligible to receive ESSER II funds.

    The exception is for charter schools that are new or significantly expanding in the 2021–22 school year. ESSER II funding for these charter schools is based on the share of funding they receive under Title I, Part A in FY 2021–22 due to their increased enrollment.

  4. Why is the CDE not apportioning an LEA’s full allocation? How will payments be calculated?

    As with most other federal funds apportioned to LEAs, ESSER II Funds are subject to federal cash management requirements. As such, CDE is required to implement cash management practices that minimize the time elapsing between the receipt and disbursement of funds by recipients of formula-based federal grants awarded by the CDE. By agreement with the federal government, CDE meets this requirement, in part, by apportioning LEAs 10% of their total allocation less remaining cash balance from prior apportionments.

  5. How often will LEAs receive payment?

    LEAs will receive payment approximately six to eight weeks after the quarterly reporting window closes. Reporting timelines are available on the Federal Stimulus Reporting web page.

  6. Are ESSER II funds subject to the excess interest calculation?
    Yes. For more information about interest calculation, see the Calculating Interest Earned on Federal Funds web page.

Reporting

  1. Can LEAs use funds to reimburse previous expenses?

    Yes. ED has stated that LEAs may use the funds for expenses incurred beginning March 13, 2020, the date on which the President declared a national emergency.

  2. Will LEAs be required to report to CDE on these funds? (Updated 28-Jul-2021)

    Yes, the CDE requires LEAs to report on the use of funds. The reporting requirements are available on the CDE CRRSA Act Funding web page. Reporting timelines are available on the Federal Stimulus Reporting web page.

  3. Will LEAs be required to track ESSER I and II funds separately?
    Yes, ESSER II funds must be tracked separately from ESSER I funds. SACS Resource Code 3212 has been assigned for ESSER II revenue.

Vaccinations

  1. Can ESSER and GEER funds be used to conduct vaccine clinics? (Added 13-Jul-2021)

    ESSER and GEER funds may be used to facilitate vaccine clinics for staff, eligible students and household members. ESSER and GEER funds may be used to help implement public health protocols. Other vaccination outreach efforts are also allowable under ESSER and GEER. This can include public awareness campaigns and vaccine incentive programs. Please reference the On-Site Vaccination Clinic Toolkit External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) for more information on how to facilitate a clinic.

  2. Are administrative costs associated with providing vaccinations allowable under ESSER and GEER funds? (Added 13-Jul-2021)

    Reasonable administrative costs are allowable when associated with obtaining vaccinations.

  3. Can we give students incentives for getting vaccinated? (Added 13-Jul-2021)

    Incentives are allowable under GEER and ESSER, provided they are reasonable in size and scope and likely to lead to an increase in the rate of vaccinations. Examples include nominal gift cards to each vaccinated student, prize drawings for tablets, new school supplies, college scholarship money, and reasonable cash awards. Any incentives provided by an LEA must meet the requirements in 2 CFR Part 200, including the requirement that the amount of the incentive be reasonable and may not violate any other applicable laws or requirements (e.g., incentives may not involve alcohol per 2 CFR 200.423).

  4. Is it just students, or can families get vaccinated at an ESSER or GEER funded vaccination clinic? (Added 13-Jul-2021)

    Students, staff, and household members can receive vaccinations from an LEA-facilitated clinic.

  5. Is COVID-19 screening and testing allowable under ESSER and GEER? (Added 13-Jul-2021)
    COVID-19 screening and testing is an allowable use of ESSER and GEER funds, as it is part of implementing public health protocols. Consultation with state and local health officials is key to ensure the adequacy of any COVID-19 testing program and that all applicable laws and requirements are being followed.

Transportation

  1. May an LEA use ESSER or GEER funds to provide transportation for students to and from school? (Added 18-Nov-2021)

    Yes. Supporting or providing transportation services for students is an allowable use of funds under ESSER and GEER, as long as the need is related to COVID-19 (e.g., to support daily attendance at school to address the impact of lost instructional time) and the cost is reasonable and necessary. This could include, but is not limited to, transportation services provided directly by the school district; the cost of public transportation services (e.g., bus or subway fare); taxis, rideshare apps, or other driving services; or compensation to parents for providing transportation services for their children.

    This FAQ is from the U.S. Department of Education's FAQs on Transportation External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

  2. May an LEA use ESSER or GEER funds to provide transportation for students participating in after-school learning and enrichment activities provided by the LEA? (Added 18-Nov-2021)

    Yes. If activities take place away from the school or after regular transportation home has occurred and are intended to address student needs related to COVID-19 (e.g., to address the impact of lost instructional time), and the cost is reasonable and necessary, transportation may be an allowable use of ESSER or GEER funds. For example, an LEA may provide before- and after-school learning and enrichment activities for students including, for example, high dosage evidence-based tutoring to address the academic impact of lost instructional time, and other activities that address the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students, including extended school year or other compensatory and related services for eligible students under the IDEA. Reasonable and necessary costs of transportation to and from such activities would be an allowable use of ESSER and GEER funds.

    This FAQ is from the U.S. Department of Education's FAQs on Transportation External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

  3. May an LEA use ESSER or GEER funds to address a shortage of school bus drivers due to the pandemic? (Added 18-Nov-2021)

    Yes. For example, an LEA may use ESSER or GEER funds for retention bonuses for current bus drivers, for salary increases, or for the cost of hiring additional bus drivers to address the shortage of bus drivers due to the pandemic. Similarly, if an LEA is operating more bus routes due to physical distancing, funds may be used to hire additional bus drivers. In addition, funds may be used to pay for the costs associated with obtaining a commercial driver’s license for new bus drivers, including the required training.

    This FAQ is from the U.S. Department of Education's FAQs on Transportation External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

  4. May an LEA facing a shortage of school bus drivers use ESSER or GEER funds to compensate parents or guardians for transporting their students to and from school? (Added 18-Nov-2021)

    Yes. ESSER or GEER funds may be used to reimburse parents or guardians for transportation costs or to offer a stipend for transportation costs, as long as they are reasonable and necessary. This type of program may be appropriate to sustain in-person instruction if an LEA is experiencing challenges hiring and/or retaining the school bus drivers necessary to accommodate the LEA’s transportation needs. Before compensating parents or guardians for transportation costs, an LEA must develop clear, objective procedures that, in addition to other relevant factors, consider: the number of days of transportation provided for in-person attendance; documentation of the travel costs to ensure that the compensation is used only for transportation-related expenses; and a process to account for any ESSER or GEER funds that were paid to parents or guardians but not used for transportation costs.

    This FAQ is from the U.S. Department of Education's FAQs on Transportation External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

Questions:   CDE Federal Stimulus Team | EDReliefFunds@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Monday, January 9, 2023
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    Information on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act.
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