School districts continue to utilize stimulus money for COVID-19 recovery

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — School districts nationwide, including Pennsylvania, continue to use federal stimulus money to recover from COVID-19 related problems.

The Steelton-Highspire School District, home to more than 1,400 students, qualified to receive funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, known as ESSER. The district realized it needed the help when it came to purchasing laptops and other equipment to supply to students for online learning.

District Superintendent Travis Waters says they will get $7 million from round 3 of ESSER.

“We can only use the funding to help with costs and losses associated with the pandemic,” Waters said. “We can’t use that federal funding to provide other educational opportunities for children with disabilities or behavioral issues.”

Waters also says $1.5 million will be used for educational losses.

“Some students did well with remote learning,” Waters said. “Others didn’t do well and some were not engaged at all.”

Waters says the district will have an eight-week summer session that will go beyond the standard summer school experience. This effort will also focus on getting students re-engaged and excited about learning.

“We will have specific programs that are supported by data, that will focus on math and English,” Waters said.

The Steelton-Highspire School District plans to start the 2021-2022 academic year with in-person learning, five days a week.

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