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COVID relief funds to address a multitude of needs at Turlock schools

The Turlock Unified School District is set to spend over $28 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds on campus safety upgrades, COVID testing and mental health support, among other items.

In March of last year Congress set aside approximately $13.2 billion of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund). ESSER relief funds are funds given to school districts to help address issues that arose due to COVID-19.

After discussing with teachers, students and faculty where the funds would be most needed, Turlock Unified School District is prioritizing specific areas with their three-year ESSER lll Plan.

“It does a great job of addressing educational services to our students.  It means a lot that we can provide educational programs,” said board member Jose Sanchez.

TUSD will receive $28,257,886 in ESSER III funds. The district is looking to use $7,304,153 for continuous and safe in-person learning. Some things that fall under this plan are: Shade structures, elementary campus supervisors, custodians, COVID-response staff, water fountains, window/door replacement, school bus cameras, Osborn School remodel and COVID testing.

Over $12.8 million is going to be used to address the impact of loss of instructional time. Some ways to accomplish this will be investing in summer School, independent study, math intervention teachers, reading intervention teachers, EL Paraprofessionals, Edgenuity, curriculum, materials, duplication and paper education.

Finally, the remaining $8 million plus will be used on mental health support, elementary counselors, community liaisons, certificated substitutes, HR technicians, security upgrades, microphones, touch-panel monitors and IT disaster recovery sites.

School districts apply to the Department of Education for the funds, and they must use at least 90 percent of ESSER Fund grants to make subgrants to school districts.