IDEA has worked to ensure we keep our commitments to students, staff and our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We worked quickly to implement a 1:1 initiative providing devices and internet access to students. Our program team moved to adapt our model to asynchronous instruction, supporting our incredible school leaders and teachers who were able to maintain high levels of student engagement. IDEA was proud to continue providing meals to our communities despite the pandemic and other emergencies such as the winter storm, allowing us to contribute to combating food insecurity during very difficult conditions for the regions we serve.
IDEA is committed to a strong start in the fall of 2021. We know we’ll face academic gaps together with our students. We have been preparing through the course of this year to improve our Elementary Program model and establish acceleration plans for next year to target learning loss. These improvements were partially funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act’s first installment of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. IDEA will also benefit from ESSER II funded by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act and ESSER III funded by the most recent American Rescue Plan (ARP). In total, IDEA stands to receive nearly $187 million in post-pandemic aid to support our schools, students and educators.
Thank you to the thousands of families, staff, students, and community members who shared their feedback or provided public comment on our draft plans during the IDEA Board of Directors meeting. Your voices are important to us and your feedback regarding our proposed ESSER investments is critical to our success and our ability to best serve our students, communities, and the rest of our Team & Family. The most recent and Board-approved plan has four focus areas for the use of ESSER funds:
The Use of Funds Plan and the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan (published below) were adopted on December 16, 2022.
It is important for us to periodically review, and as appropriate, revise our plans for use of ESSER funding based on the current context and needs of our students. For Florida, we will post drafts of the revised Use of Funds Plan and Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan for public comment by June 9, 2023.