Without Congressional motion, colleges won’t be capable to check for COVID – 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

The federal funding that made widespread testing potential for Jefferson County Public Schools in the course of the COVID pandemic is all used up. Without extra, subsequent faculty 12 months may look far totally different than final.

JCPS was operating, on common, 25,000 COVID exams every week final faculty 12 months — at drive-through websites, and lecture rooms and faculty nurses places of work throughout the district. Not only for college students and employees, but additionally for his or her households.

JCPS District Health Manager Eva Stone stated the huge testing effort was “critically important” to the district’s pandemic response.

“I think people in the community really appreciate having the availability of testing,” Stone advised WFPL News. 

So did Stone. It allowed her to regulate the unfold of COVID in colleges, contact hint, and name off faculty when circumstances have been too excessive. Eventually “test-to-stay” and “test-to-play” applications allowed college students to attend faculty and extracurriculars who would in any other case be quarantined at residence. 

But the federal funds that made widespread testing potential are gone now. Kentucky spent the final of the hundreds of thousands by way of the American Rescue Plan Act earlier this month. Meanwhile, Congress has to date didn’t go one other COVID spending bundle, after a $10 billion deal died within the Senate over a dispute about immigration restrictions.

That leaves JCPS and districts throughout the nation not sure in the event that they’ll be capable to maintain the widespread testing Stone believes was so essential.

“We had a successful school year this year, albeit challenging,” Stone stated. “But it was only successful because of all the things that were done to help ensure that there were measures in place to help keep students and staff safe, and limit the spread of COVID in our schools.”

“We’re just kind of on pins and needles until we find out what Congress is going to do,” she stated.

Congressional leaders, nonetheless, could have to return to the drafting board, and it’s not clear there’s an urge for food to ship extra funding to states which might be already “awash in money,” one former help to Mitch McConnell advised The New York Times.

JCPS alone has obtained extra $578 million in federal pandemic aid funds. Asked why the district can’t use a few of that funding on testing, Stone stated that’s not what it’s meant for.

Most of JCPS’ federal pandemic aid cash comes from three rounds of Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief packages (ESSER). Congress required that districts spend a minimum of 20% of the third ESSER bundle on catching college students up academically.

“Saying that we’re ‘awash’ in federal funds right now, it is really a bit of a stretch, if you think of what all students have missed and what work is being done to try and catch students up,” Stone stated.

Stone is hopeful Congress acts earlier than the autumn, when some consultants predict a surge of omicron sub-variants.

Leave a Comment