American Rescue Plan funds can be used to support these efforts. The President’s Build Back Better agenda would do more to improve school infrastructure
Today, the Department of Education released a resource to help schools, colleges, and universities improve their ventilation systems to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide healthy learning environments. The resource outlines how American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds can be used to improve indoor air quality and is part of the Department’s broader efforts to support schools as they prepare to welcome students back to in-person learning this fall and build back better. The release of the resource coincides with U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona’s visit to Kelley Lake Elementary School in Decatur, Georgia, that will use ARP funds to invest in indoor air quality improvements and will be offering in-person learning to all K-12 students for the 2021-2022 school year.
“Protecting our schools and communities from the spread of COVID-19 is the first step in bringing more students back to in-person learning and reemerging from this crisis even stronger than we were before,” said Secretary Cardona. “With the American Rescue Plan, schools and districts now have access to unprecedented resources that will enable them to ensure proper ventilation and maintain healthy learning and working environments. At the Department, we are committed to helping communities identify how to use these resources quickly and effectively as they prepare to welcome all students back to in-person learning this fall.”
The resource outlines how schools can invest ARP funds, as well as previous rounds of relief funding, to take immediate action to improve indoor air quality, such as the inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrading of projects in school facilities. This can include system upgrades, filtering, purification, and other air cleaning fans, and window and door repair.
While these investments can provide an important foundation for schools to take action now to improve indoor air quality, more must be done to improve the infrastructure in schools across the country. That’s why President Biden has proposed additional resources in his Build Back Better agenda to rebuild our nation’s public schools.