State applies for nearly $524 million in emergency funding for schools

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – This week, the state applied for nearly $524 million in emergency funding to help schools get through the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Education will be allocating resources through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund to ease the financial burden COVID-19 has put on districts.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Education expects its application to be approved within a week.

Schools can use the funds for a variety of purposes, including technology, sanitation and cleaning supplies and mental health supports.

The CARES Act requires at least 90% of the funds to go to public and charter schools.

Here is a breakdown of how much districts are expected to receive.

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera has said he is going to try to have schools reopen in the fall, but there is a chance that may not happen. Rivera stresses safety is his top priority.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai has spoken out about those statements, saying the state needs to have a plan to get kids back in the classroom.

Turzai insists having kids home is too much of a pressure on families. He wants to know if there has been a statewide analysis, or if officials have checked in on students or families of students with special needs.

The Speaker says statistics show school-aged children largely aren’t impacted by COVID-19, though state and federal health officials have continued to say the issue is having those children expose their parents, grandparents and others at risk.

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