Senate Passes Bill For Funding To Improve Health And Safety For School Districts

The bill looks to help schools districts improve the safety of children and clean facilities

Shawn Digity
May 28, 2020 - 8:47 pm
school classroom

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HARRISBURG (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Senator Jim Brewster announced on Thursday that a bill was passed that will allow almost $215 million to be spent on the costs to help school districts clean their buildings, protect students and modify pre-existing structures to combat COVID-19.

“This is a necessary infusion of cash to help school districts protect children and adjust the footprint of facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Brewster said. 

“School districts need additional funds to clean buildings, make social distancing modifications and purchase necessary equipment.”

Brewster also went on to say that around $200 million of the funding will be given to school districts or bodies.

At least $120,000 will be granted to each individual school organization or district with additional per diems that will be awarded based on daily enrollment rates.

Vocational and technical schools, along with intermediary units, will receive $90,000 in designated funding.

$114 million will be split proportionally among all school entities after each receives its initial grant.

The funding comes through the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency School Health and Safety Grants. 

The funds will be prioritized on the following objectives:

  • Purchasing of cleaning and sanitizing products that meet Center for Disease Control (CDC) or Department of Health criteria
  • Training and professional development of staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious disease
  • Purchase of equipment, including personal protective equipment, thermometers, infrared cameras and other necessary items
  • Modification of existing areas to effectuate appropriate social distancing to ensure the health and safety of students and staff
  • Providing mental health services and supports, including trauma-informed education programs for students impacted by the COVID-19 disaster declaration
  • Purchasing education technology for distance learning to ensure the continuity of education
  • Other health and safety programs, items or services necessary to address the COVID-19 disaster emergency

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