Local School Districts Could Receive Federal COVID-19 Grants

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A number of local school districts could be on the receiving end of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal health and safety grants to help prevent the future spread of COVID-19.

State Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh/Montgomery/Northampton) announced Wednesday that the five districts located in the 131st legislative district “are set to receive more than $1.3 million in federal funds for School Health and Safety Grants to address needs related to preventing the spread of COVID-19.”

The following are the funding allocations the districts are expected to receive if they successfully apply for the grants by June 30, according to Simmons’ news release:

  • East Penn School District – $438,415
  • Salisbury School District – $185,323
  • Saucon Valley School District – $208,812
  • Southern Lehigh School District – $243,483
  • Upper Perkiomen School District – $246,818

The totals represent $120,000 per district, plus a prorated share of the remaining money that is based upon the school district’s average daily enrollment, the news release stated.

Eligible uses for the funding include the purchase of cleaning and sanitizing products; training and professional development for staff on sanitation and procedures to help minimize the spread of infectious diseases; equipment purchases; modifying existing areas to support the appropriate social distancing of students and staff; providing mental health and support services; purchases of educational technology for distance learning; and various other health and safety programs, items or services deemed necessary to address the COVID-19 disaster emergency.

There is also a requirement that the grant funding be used by Oct. 30, 2020.

“Our school districts have a difficult road ahead of them,” said Simmons in the news release. “We in the legislature recognize that these are unprecedented times, and our top priority is to ensure school districts understand they have our full support.”

More information about the grants and the application process is available online on the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency website.

All of Pennsylvania’s school districts were closed in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and remained closed for the remainder of the school year, with students completing their studies online. It remains to be seen what public education in the commonwealth will look like when school resumes in late August.

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