The U.S. Department of Education has announced that they have approved Nevada’s plan for their American Rescue Plan Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds.

The plan goes into detail about how the state is currently using their relief funds and how they plan on using the remainder of the funds going forward. These funds are, and will continue to be, used for safely reopening schools and expanding on the opportunities for students that need it most, specifically for those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic the most.

So far this year, the Department of Education has released two-thirds of the total funds, with Nevada receiving over $1 billion in ARP ESSER funds. With this new plan approval, Nevada is looking to receive another $358 million in relief funds.

“I am excited to announce approval of Nevada’s plan,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The approval of these plans enables states to receive vital, additional American Rescue Plan funds to quickly and safely reopen schools for full-time, in-person learning; meet students’ academic, social, emotional and mental health needs; and address disparities in access to educational opportunity that were exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.”

One part of the plans that Nevada has laid out will be to award $10.7 million in funds to after-school programs throughout the districts in a competitive grant process. The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) will choose districts based on evidence gathered regarding the after-school programs and address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on traditionally underserved student groups.

The NDE will also be spreading out $7.5 million to school districts and charter schools to help hire 100 additional school-based mental health professionals. These professionals will include school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists and school mental health workers.

“With today’s approval on our ARP ESSER State Plan, Nevada is able to move ahead to bring these important projects to life in a way that will serve our students, families, educators, and staff throughout the state,” said Governor Steve Sisolak. “I commend Superintendent Ebert and her team at the Nevada Department of Education for their hard work on compiling our ARP ESSER State Plan in a way that is reflective of the needs of all stakeholders involved with Nevada’s education system.”

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