Released: September 8, 2020
During its September 2 public meeting, Delaware County Council unanimously voted to enter into an agreement with the Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU) to provide $20,000,000 in assistance to the DCIU and public school districts throughout Delaware County to address COVID-19 related expenses using Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.
Funding can be used for (but is not limited to) providing internet connections and related equipment to students in qualifying low-income families, additional sanitation, and procurement of personal protective equipment.
“Supporting education and funding needs of schools is a very important aspect of COVID-19 relief and necessary for recovery,” said Councilwoman Elaine Schaefer. “It is our obligation to get this money to those entities as they begin the school year and will likely face even more challenges throughout year.”
Funding can be used for:
Purchasing of cleaning and sanitizing products that meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Department of Health criteria
Training and professional development of staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases
Purchasing 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 approaches for students impacted by the COVID-19 disaster emergency
Purchasing educational 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
Providing internet connections and related equipment to students in qualifying low-income families
Eligibility for internet connectivity services will be determined using parameters for housing assistance, free and reduced lunches, and/or other applicable programs, as determined by the County Executive Director.
The DCIU will assist in distributing the money to school districts. Their role is to distribute according to the existing Title I formula to public school districts, who will spend it within parameters set by COVID-19 CARES Act funding, with a priority, per Council on addressing the digital divide. The Title I formula is set out in Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA) and is designed to provide financial assistance to school districts with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families where resources for distance learning are less likely to be in place. The amount will vary per district.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a multitude of issues for our schools and school leaders, including coping with the many unexpected costs, overwhelming uncertainty and lots of moving pieces,” said Maria Edelberg, Ed.D., Executive Director of the Delaware County Intermediate Unit. “While our districts have done a great job working with what they have, an influx of these additional monies from the County CARES Act funds will be very helpful to districts, some of which might see their budgets slashed as local and state tax revenue falls. DCIU is happy to be the conduit by which our school districts will receive these much-needed dollars to help cover costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic.