ATLANTA – Georgia schools are about to receive the final $1.4 billion installment of $4.2 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds the state Department of Education was allocated through legislation Congress passed in March.
The U.S. Department of Education approved the state’s plan for the stimulus money on Thursday. Georgia received the first $2.8 billion shortly after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law.
Of the total $4.2 billion package earmarked for Georgia, $3.8 billion will go directly to school districts across the state. The other $425 million will be used to address statewide needs.
“We are focused on supporting learning, expanding resources for student mental health and wellbeing, and ensuring the safety of students, staff, and families,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said.
“We will use these funds to deploy state-level Academic Recovery Specialists, establish school-based health clinics, and more. The resources we’ve been given will directly support schools and students.”
More than 1.7 million Georgia students were forced to switch to online classes in March of last year as cases of COVID-19 began to mount. The 2020-21 school year that began last August was conducted with a mishmash of virtual and in-person instruction.
The state- and regional-level Academic Recovery Specialists will help teachers and administrators recover from the gaps in learning resulting from the disruption the pandemic brought to the schools.
The federal money also will pay for state-level support for school nurses, school psychologists, school social workers, wraparound services and military families. It will help establish school-based health clinics for rural students, provide mental-health awareness training for educators and provide support and therapeutic services for students with disabilities.
Georgia will return fully to in-person classes with the start of the 2021-22 school year, with most districts beginning classes next month.