The Deptford Township Board of Education held its most recent meeting on June 8 to implement the American Rescue Plan and discuss the next steps in opening schools after the pandemic.
Chief Academic Officer Kevin Kanauss gave a presentation on how the federal rescue plan will be used during the 2021-’22 school year and beyond.
“The purpose of this funding is to prepare families and respond to different impacts from COVID,” he noted.
The U.S Department of Education announced that each state education agency will receive $122 billion under the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund, as relief for students at K-12 schools who suffered learning losses because of COVID.
“We did receive funds back in November of last year called Cares One,” said Kanauss.
Funding will allow the district to begin summer learning programs in 2022, in a more relaxed environment.
Kanauss also rolled out steps in a Safe School Return Plan that consists of CDC guidelines the district must follow during the 2021-’22 school year. Some of those requirements include distancing, improving ventilation, quarantine protocols, and the correct use of masks.
Another component of the plan includes addressing the social and emotional health of staff and students.
“One of the things that the administration and myself have tackled in the past month or so is looking at the whole child and their needs,” Kanauss explained.
The project is known as Supporting Our Spartans, and some of its components include student intervention, as well as helping students adjust to regular schooling now that virtual learning is no more.
“It’s going to be a long time before we can make up for some of the learning losses and fill in the gaps, and we fully recognize that,” said Superintendent Arthur Dietz.
In addition to the American Rescue Plan, 29 district retirees for 2020-’21 were acknowledged in a proper sendoff with family members in attendance.
The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 22, at 6:30 p.m. at Deptford High School.