July 15, 2021

Manchin Applauds Distribution Of Remaining $254 Million From American Rescue Plan For West Virginia Schools

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded the U.S. Department of Education approval of West Virginia's American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) plan, and the subsequent distribution of the final $254,348,143 to West Virginia schools. The American Rescue Plan provided in total more than $760 million for West Virginia schools to safely reopen schools, and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most, particularly those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented changes, West Virginia students deserve to return to safe, supportive schools in the fall,” said Senator Manchin. “The American Rescue Plan provides West Virginia schools with more than $760 million to safely open our schools and help our students catch up after the last year. I am pleased the Department of Education has approved West Virginia’s plan for these funds and look forward to seeing the positive impacts for our students.”
Top Priorities within West Virginia’s plan:
  •       Addressing the social and academic issues of students
  •        Addressing the significant number of secondary learners that failed to earn credits
  •        Addressing the decline in academic performance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
Highlights of West Virginia’s Plan:
  •        Returning to In Person Learning in 2021: Barring any significant change in COVID-19 infection rates for the state, it is the expectation of the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBOE) that all 55 districts will provide in-person instruction five days per week when the 2021-2022 school year begins.
  •        Safely Reopening Schools and Sustaining Safe Operations: In preparation of the 2020-2021 school year, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) developed a Roadmap-to-Recovery that outlines the rules under which schools operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Roadmap document has been updated regularly and is available for public comment now. West Virginia began a campaign encouraging high school students to get vaccinated in April 2021, which included hosting student vaccination clinics and engaging students and families on social media and will continue into the fall of 2021.
  •        Addressing the Academic Impact of Lost Instructional Time: Districts in West Virginia will implement evidence-based interventions to address the impact of lost instructional time on students, including meeting the needs of students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. WVDE also will support its districts by expanding state Technical Assistance Centers (TACs), which will support these interventions through professional development programs. WVDE will bolster three existing TACs by establishing two additional TACs using ARP ESSER funds, which will focus on grades 6-12 STEM and student support and wellbeing.
  •        Supporting Students’ and Educators’ Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Needs: WVDE has made districts aware that ESSER funds may be used to support mental health services and programs for staff to address stress or trauma brought on by COVID-19 and its impacts on communities.