It’s been some time since I’ve written a blog to the field and SO much has happened! We have a new COVID relief program with benefits for private school students, there is new IDEA draft guidance out for comment, and there are new appropriations for the 2021-22 school year. And before we’re done, there could be a third COVID relief program. Whew!
On January 13, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance on the new Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS) program. Let’s back up just a bit before getting into the specifics of the EANS guidance. In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act which provided equitable services to private school students under the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. While Congress attempted to follow up on the CARES Act with additional benefits (House passed the HEROES Act, Senate introduced but did not vote on HEALS Act, and the Administration and House leadership worked on several rounds of negotiations), there was no relief bill passed until late December 2020. COVID relief was part of a larger bill to fund all government agencies for fiscal year 2021. This is how we got to the EANS program.
EANS is a program exclusively for the benefit of private schools and their students, teachers, and families. Nationally, the program is funded at $2.75 billion and is part of the GEER program under Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021. It operates this way: the Governor fills out a request to the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Education provides the funding to the State Education Agency (SEA) to administer the grant. Here is the timeline:
- Date of enactment: December 27
- ED must release state applications for EANS: January 26
- SEA must publish applications within 30 days of receiving $$: Estimated–February-March
- SEA must approve or deny within 30 days of receipt: Estimated–March-April
- SEA must obligate funds within 6 months of receipt: Estimated—August
Any non-profit private school is eligible to apply for EANS provided the private school is not applying for the second round of the Payroll Protection Program. Private schools applying for EANS should be prepared to provide information to the SEA such as:
- The number and percentage of students from low-income families enrolled in the private school for the 2019-20 school year.
- Information regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the school.
- A description of the emergency services or assistance being requested.
- Whether the private school received a PPP loan before December 27, 2020.
- An assurance that the private school is not applying for PPP loan on or after December 27, 2020.
An EANS award can be used for the following purposes:
- Supplies to sanitize, disinfect, and clean school facilities.
- Personal Protective Equipmen.t
- Improving ventilation systems.
- Training and PD for staff related to COVID.
- Physical barriers for social distancing.
- Other materials recommended by the CDC to open schools safely.
- Expanding capacity for COVID testing and monitoring the virus.
- Educational technology
- Redeveloping instructional plans for remote or hybrid learning or to address learning loss.
- Leasing sites or spaces to ensure social distancing.
- Reasonable transportation costs.
- Initiating and maintaining education and support services or assistance for remote or hybrid learning or to address learning loss.
- Reimbursement for certain services or assistance incurred on or after March 13, 2020.
Well…this is a lot to absorb and truthfully there is a lot more detail to share. I am happy to be joining Catapult Learning for an informative webinar on the new FAQs from the U.S. Department of Education. I hope you’ll join me! Here are the details:
Wednesday, January 27 – 3pm EST (1 hour)
Michelle Doyle – CEO of Michelle Doyle Educational Consulting
Former Director of the Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE) at the U.S. Department of Education.
Jason Botel, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Catapult Learning
Former Senior White House Advisor for Education and Acting Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education.
All the best,
Michelle L. Doyle
Michelle Doyle Educational Consulting