WEST CHESTER, PA — Chester County’s Intermediate Unit will administer $10 million in Public School grant funds to help school districts comply with COVID-19 public health requirements.
The Chester County Board of Commissioners on Friday announced the major grant program that will provide financial support to public schools in Chester County, all impacted by COVID-19.
The Chester County COVID-19 Public School Grant Program provides $10 million to 12 school districts to help their schools comply with COVID-19-related public health measures.
Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline approved a resolution authorizing the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) to administer the $10 million fund, which will be available immediately to 12 of the public school districts in Chester County.
“The uncertainties of the virus have led to intensive planning, preparation — and revised planning — by school administrators and school board members who have had to make tough decisions in trying to balance the desire for in-school learning with the need to ensure the health of students, teachers and staff,” said Moskowitz, county commissioners’ chair.
The $10 million Chester County COVID-19 Public School Grant Program is funded from CARES Act funding acquired by Chester County government. Each of the 12 school districts have been apportioned money based on Title 1 allocations. Funding for the school districts ranges from over $330,000 to $ 2.4 million.
CCIU Executive Director, Dr. George F. Fiore, thanked the Commissioners for their willingness to support students, families, staff.
“The CARES Act financial support provided directly to Chester County districts allows our schools and administrators to adapt as we continue to navigate the ever-changing demands and responsibilities created by the COVID-19 virus and remain vigilant in our efforts to keep our students, teachers and staff members safe,” Fiore said.
The agreement between Chester County and the CCIU states that all requests for reimbursements by the public schools must be for CARES-eligible expenditures; these include the purchase of cleaning and sanitizing products, personal protective equipment, relevant training and professional development for staff, and changes made to facilities to ensure effective social distancing.
Maxwell said, “Our schools are recognized as some of the best in the commonwealth and the nation, and one of the reasons for this is the leadership of the schools; leaders who care. But this pandemic has brought with it a level of uncertainty and economic challenge that never could have been imagined.”
Maxwell said all of the school districts are trying to meet those challenges head on, and at great expense. “The County’s grant program will help with the burden of those costs, allowing our schools to focus on what more they need to support teachers, students and their families during this crazy time,” he added.
The grant program for schools will also cover the purchase of student laptops and tablets, internet connection for qualifying students, establishing virtual learning centers, and mental health services and supports, including trauma-informed approaches.
“As we work together to bring our staff and students back into our classrooms, we are grateful for the generous support of our Chester County Commissioners and their commitment to protecting the health and well-being of our school community,” said Dr. Emilie M. Lonardi, Downingtown Area School District Superintendent.
Kichline said, “We all long for a return to traditional school experiences for our communities, but until we find a way to beat the pandemic, ‘traditional’ really isn’t possible. School leaders, staff and teachers are making monumental efforts to teach children, and we thank them for all that they are doing. The $10 million COVID-19 School Grant program will give them resources to continue those efforts.”
Staff at the CCIU will be reaching out to the school districts receiving a portion of the $10 million school grant funding, to present program guidelines, funding agreements and reimbursement procedures.
“The capital allocated through the CARES funding is essential for the daily cleaning, equipment, transportation and every item that goes into everyday learning for children,” said David Woods, Superintendent of Oxford Area School District.
Chester County’s COVID-19 School Grant program is part of a major $28 million COVID-19 funding program approved by the Chester County Commissioners. Earlier this week the County announced $15 million in subsidies and grants for childcare support, and last week the County announced a $3.5 million Restore Chester County: Nonprofit Innovation and Resiliency Fund made available to Chester County nonprofits.
Chester County COVID-19 School Grant Program funding allocations are:
- CHESTER COUNTY INTERMEDIATE UNIT: $1,258,063.89
- WEST CHESTER AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT: $867,918.36
- PHOENIXVILLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT: $510,552.68
- TREDYFFRIN-EASTTOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT: $343,514.18
- GREAT VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT: $436,678.12
- DOWNINGTOWN AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT: $449,950.25
- KENNETT CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT: $865,087.65
- OCTORARA AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT:$882,476.24
- OWEN J ROBERTS SCHOOL DISTRICT: $353,910.83
- OXFORD AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT: $1,104,411.07
- COATESVILLE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT: $2,443,003.67
- UNIONVILLE-CHADDS FORD SCHOOL DISTRICT: $150,447.51
- AVON GROVE SCHOOL DISTRICT: $333,985.56
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