Week of 4/4: Unwinding Disruption

For a sample dataset of ESSER III spending plans for 125 school districts with over $3 billion in ESSER III allocations, email dennis@burbio.com or sign up at our ESSER III page. Burbio's database covers details on plans for districts with over $70 billion in allocations and is growing weekly.

For a sample dataset of ESSER III spending plans for 125 school districts with over $3 billion in ESSER III allocations, email dennis@burbio.com or sign up at our ESSER III page.   Burbio's database covers details on plans for districts with over $70 billion in allocations and is growing weekly. 
1.  Over the course of the 2021/22 academic year, the overwhelming majority of US K-12 schools have been open for in-person learning, but many of the day-to-day routines and extracurricular activities of pre-Covid 19 schooling have been absent.  Burbio's team of researchers examines websites and social media accounts for 5,000+ school districts at least weekly, and this week we wanted to highlight some examples of what school is returning to in several parts of the country:
  • "What a day!" declares Chandler Unified, AZ school district. "We loved seeing all our schools show off their spirit at the first Student Council Convention since 2019." Deer Valley Unified School District, AZ has a similar sentiment: "We have waited two long years to be able to have volunteers back at our schools! This week we were able to safely welcome them back to our campuses! Our district is so lucky to have such an involved community!"
  • Ichabod Crane Central School District, NY celebrates "a great production of The Lion King Jr! The troupe took the stage for the first time since 2019 and put on a wonderful show." Ellenville School District, NY reports"  "Exciting news! Ellenville is bringing back its famous faculty/staff basketball game this year . . "
  • Hart County Charter System, GA reports "Beginning March 16th, grade level events will be open to parent guardians, but they will be limited to two adults per child. . . outside food does not have to be prepackaged or individually wrapped under the new guidance . . . "
  • Baltimore County Public Schools, MD informs parents: "There will be no restrictions on spectator capacity for all spring athletic events and other extracurricular activities . . .  All BCPS high schools will host traditional indoor and outdoor activities to recognize the academic and athletic achievements of the Class of 2022. Additionally, schools are planning to host Spring concerts, plays, recognition events, and end-of-year celebrations."
  • Pittsfield Public Schools, MA, in their letter announcing the upcoming end to current distancing practices  ("Signage related to required masking, distancing, and room capacity will be removed") also notes,  "Schools will begin to return their cafeterias back to spaces where students can share a lunch table.  The cafeteria transitions will take some time as large amounts of existing individual student desks have to be placed or stored. Cafeteria tables have to be removed from storage and moved back into their original locations."
  • Oak Park Elementary School District 97, IL announces "Beginning Monday, April 11, all District 97 schools will resume serving hot lunch . .  ."
  • In  Colorado, the Denver Public Schools, is promoting the Denver March Powwow, returning to the Denver Coliseum after being virtual last year.  In Cherry Creek School District the district-wide chess tournament attracted participants from 29 schools after being cancelled last year.  In Adams 12 Five Star Schools the Prom Dress Exchange returned for the first time since the pandemic began.
  • New Richmond Exempted Village School District, OH informs parents, "With the drop in COVID-19 cases and the change in pandemic-related state protocols, field trips are once again possible."
2.  In one small district out of Maine we found a list of all the changes that had recently occurred.  MSAD # 51, ME outlines in their "goes green" plan what's "new since January 2022."  While just one district, we found in this list a representation of many of the changes we have seen in the last two months: 
  • Mask optional at facilities, grounds, buses/vans
  • Locker rooms reopened, PE swim lessons resume
  • Cafeterias used in all schools for lunch, Plexiglass removed from cafeteria 
  • Many field trips resume, After school clubs resume
  • In-person athletic events indoors return to 100% capacity, In-person concerts and performances indoors - 100% capacity 
  • Guest speakers indoors resume, Student teachers starting again
  • Late Bus runs resume
  • Isolation period reduced from 10 days to 5 days when testing positive 
  • Contact tracing paused, Home antigen tests accepted
3.   In Georgia the governor signed a law allowing parents to opt their children out of school mask mandates, turning the state dark green on our State Mask Policy Tracker.  Clayton County Public Schools removed their mask mandate March 31st.  Bridgeport Public Schools, CT went mask optional (effective April 1st) as did districts such as Taos Municipal Schools, NM (April 19th) and  The School District of Clayton, MO (April 4th).  In Vermont, Washington Central Unified School District reimposed a mask mandate due to rising Covid 19 rates, drawing a rebuke from the state's top education official outlined in this local media report.
4.  This week we highlight examples of districts' planned investments in transportation from across the country from our ESSER III spending plan dataset.  Capital expenditures and/or staffing for transportation appear in over 30% of ESSER III plans compiled to date.  The figures in parenthesis are the district's ESSER III allocation: 
  • Worcester Public Schools, MA ($78.2MM), which voted to take its bus service in-house, is spending $18.5MM on school buses. 
  • Minneapolis Public Schools, MN  ($159.5MM) will be spending $2.4MM on bus driver recruitment and retention. 
  • Lincoln County Schools, WV ($12MM) is spending $190,000 on a refrigerated food truck to bring food to students and families, plus $300,000 for wi-fi on buses.  Similarly Truth or Consequences Municipal Schools, NM ($5.4MM) will spend $125,000 on a "mid-sized bus to help deliver meals to our remote students so we do not have to disrupt the regular bus schedule."
  • Wappingers Central School District, NY ($8.6MM) will spend $100,000 on additional bus driver hours, and have allocated $1MM for transportation for students for summer school and afterschool programs.  Crown Point Community School Corporation, IN ($3.9MM) will be spending over $200,000 in bus drivers salary and benefits and bus fuel and maintenance in programs to address learning loss.
  • Frederick County Public Schools, MD ($37.9MM) will be using buses as Mobile Learning Labs. "These learning labs will visit a neighborhood twice a week, for one hour each visit, for an eight week session. Two sessions will occur – the first in fall 2021 and the second in spring 2022. Three teachers will participate in each learning lab session; materials for the session will be brought from their school . . . "
  • Riverbank Unified School District, CA ($6.3MM) is spending $40,000 on Transportation Recording Systems for "Cameras in buses to provide video information related to student interaction, connection and contact tracing."
  • Windham Public Schools, CT ($13.7MM) is spending $100,000 to purchase a Parent Transportation Van, with additional expenses for gas and staffing.
  • Hastings Public Schools, NE ($6.8MM) will be spending $775,000 on "buses and suburbans" this year and next, while  Pryor Public Schools, OK ($4.4MM) will be spending $1.1MM on 6 buses and 6 suburbans.  Dallas County Schools, AL ($21.9MM) will be spending $3MM on 30 72-passenger buses "to reduce the amount of students riding and to mitigate COVID 19 infection when transporting students."
  • Westmoreland County Public Schools, VA ($4.5MM) is spending $700,000 to purchase six air-conditioned buses to replace six non-air-conditioned buses, as well as $82,900 for bus cameras to assist in contact tracing. 
  • Byers School District, CO ($2.7MM) will spend $226,000 to "Add vehicles for smaller travel" and spend $16,000 on bus wi-fi.

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