This week we look at districts' increasingly finely-tuned Covid mitigation strategies, annual reporting on progress and priorities, enhanced summer...
Week of 3/7: Mental Health Spending
This week there was an acceleration of districts shifting to mask-optional policies as several states moved up their dates for allowing local district flexibility. We take a look at mental health spending using ESSER III funds.
Mar 6, 2022
This week there was an acceleration of districts shifting to mask-optional policies as several states moved up their dates for allowing local district flexibility. We take a look at mental health spending using ESSER III funds. More below.
To receive a sample of Burbio's detailed by-district ESSER III spending dataset sign up at our ESSER III landing page.
FutureEd and Burbio are hosting a webinar at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 15, to explore ESSER III spending plans and what’s next for reporting expenditures and measuring impact. Panelists include Curtis Jones, Bibb County School District Superintendent; Nick Simmons, Special Assistant to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Education; Burbio co-founder Julie Roche, and the team from FutureEd. For more information and to register, click here.
1. Burbio's Mask Policy Tracker tracks the Top 500 district mask policies, updated daily. As of Sunday, March 6th, 292 of the Top 500 districts are mask-optional, the highest level seen this academic year and an increase from 176 on February 4th. The figures in the chart are set to the effective date of the district's change, meaning a district that has announced a plan to switch to mask-optional won't appear as such until that date occurs:
2. After the CDC updated mask guidance several states made new announcements. California, Oregon, and Washington will be lifting school mask mandates as of March 12th. Oregon (March 31st) and Washington (March 21st) had previously announced later dates for the shift. Delaware announced mask-flexibility for local districts starting March 1st after having previously had a March 31st effective date. In Vermont, the state announced that as of March 14th " there will be no school-specific COVID-19 prevention and mitigation recommendations issued by the State . . ".
3. Below is the current Top 500 mask tracker map, which can be found at our Mask Policy Tracker page:
4. Here is a snapshot of mask policy changes occurring across the US:
- In Illinois Chicago Public Schools is continuing with its mandate, as is Urbana District 116., while Oak Park ESD 97 will keep it in place through March 17th.
- In California, Riverdale Joint Unified School District lifted their mask mandate on March 2nd, earlier than that state's official deadline. Loomis Union School District Brea Olinda Unified, Scotia Union SD, and Norris School District will be going mask-optional on March 12th. San Leandro and Soledad are among those keeping mandates in place.
- In Arizona Laveen School District, Flagstaff, and Parad
ise Valley Schoolsall went to mask-optional.
- Districts across Delaware acted immediately with Colonial School District, Red Clay Schools,and Indian River School District among many removing mask mandates.
- Among many districts in New York going mask-optional after the Governor lifted the mandate were Levittown Public Schools, Mamaroneck Public Schools, North Syracuse Central School District, and Huntington Union Free School District. New York City's K-12 mask mandate is being lifted March 7th.
- In larger districts from other states, Indianapolis, IN schools went mask-optional, as did Oklahoma City, OK, Des Moines, IA Stamford, CT and Charleston, SC. Baltimore, MD will be mask-optional March 14th while Detroit, MI schools will keep the mandate in place. Tulsa, OK changed "safety guidance to strongly recommending (rather than expecting) masking for all adults and students in our schools and district office sites."
- From Wenatchee School District, WA, which is moving to mask-optional in the near future reports: "Some members of our community have asked the District to 'look the other way' and allow students or staff to make the choice of masking or not masking now. We simply cannot and will not. If a student does not comply with the mask mandate, the student will be sent to the office and their family will be notified. The student will not return to class until they follow the mask mandate. We have nine more days . . ."
5. Burbio's ESSER III spending database has detailed spending plans for over 3,200 districts representing over 60% of US students and accounting for over $68 billion of allocations. Currently over 7% of all spending is being dedicated to mental and physical health and this week we wanted to focus on this large category with some examples. The figure in parenthesis is the total ESSER III allocation for the district:
- Council Bluffs, IA schools ($18MM) will be hiring 10 therapists and two Student and Family Advocates for the next three years, plus will create a "trauma informed online academy" and make several curriculum enhancements involving social and emotional learning and behavioral health.
- Desert Sands Unified, CA ($55.9MM) will spend $1.4MM on Prevention and Intervention Psychologists, $566,000 on Mental Health Therapists, and $3.3MM on counseling over the next three years.
- Frederick County Public Schools, MD ($37.9MM) will be adding specialists for Behavioral Intervention (1) and Psychologist (1) for the next three years, plus contracted specialists in trauma, bereavement. and suicide prevention (beginning page 94).
- Omaha, NE Public Schools ($194MM) will spend $8.4MM over three years to "establish partnerships with local mental health partnerships," training on "trauma informed care," "enhanced systems for foster . . . homeless . . .incarcerated youth" and "compassion fatigue and self-care training for staff," among other line items.
- Schenectady City School District, NY ($41.3 MM) will spend $700,000 on Social and Emotional Professional Development, $1.7MM to "Support SEL, Parent and Community Engagement," and $150,000 on social and emotional learning curriculum.
- Lynchburg City Public Schools, VA ($28.4MM) will spend 4.3% of it's ESSER III funding on " Professional development resources. . for staff members on proactive and positive classroom management . . mentoring program for students to address mental health and traumas, community providers for mental health and other wraparound services for students, resources to support bullying and violence prevention efforts. . ."
- Hardy County Schools, WV ($4.9MM) will hire an additional school psychologist for one year, three additional social workers for two years, along with smaller expenditures for therapy dogs, wellness center 'pool days' and social and emotional support for staff.
- Sarasota County Schools, FL ($66.6MM) will spend $10.2MM on Mental and Behavioral Health Staff , Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) Training, Restorative Practices Training, and Social, Emotion, and Behavioral (SEB) Curriculum and Training.
- Madison County Schools, KY ($22MM) outline a variety of categories of focus including staff training in "CBITS: Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools," "Calming Areas" and "Calm Corners," school safety monitors, and Social Emotional Programming.