Clarification on Digital Learning and the CARES Act

ESSER Fund Frequently Asked Questions

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has received several recent questions regarding allowable uses of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds. Within the CARES Act, the USDE received funding for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund.  Also, the CARES Act provides the Coronavirus Relief Fund to the State of Mississippi.  Each of these programs has unique requirements and allowable costs.

The MDE is responsible for the administration of ESSER Fund.  Allowable uses of ESSER Funds according to Section 18003 of the CARES Act includes:

  1. Any activity under ESEA, IDEA, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, or McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  2. Coordination of preparedness and response efforts of the LEA with State, local, tribal and territorial public health departments, and other relevant agencies to improve responses to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus
  3. Provide principals and school leaders with resources to address the needs of the school
  4. Activities to address the unique needs of low-income students, children with disabilities, ELs, racial and ethnic minorities, homeless students, foster care youth (including outreach and service delivery
  5. Develop and implement procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of LEAs
  6. Training and PD for staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases
  7. Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities
  8. Planning for and coordinating long-term closures, including providing meals, technology for online learning to all students, carrying out requirements under IDEA, and ensuring other educational services can continue
  9. Purchasing of educational technology (hardware, software, connectivity) that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and classroom instructors including low-income students and students with disabilities which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment
  10. Providing mental health services and supports
  11. Planning and implementing summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs (addressing needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, ELs, Migrants, Homeless students and Foster Care students)
  12. Other activities necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services and continuing to employ existing staff

ESSER funds are available for obligations by LEAs and other subrecipients March 13, 2020 through September 30, 2022, which includes the Tydings period (General Education Provisions Act §421(b)(1)).  The ESSER Fund FAQs that were released on May 8, 2020 have been provided for your use.  ESSER has been assigned Fund Number 2590 and Revenue Function 4477.  Also, this grant’s CFDA Number is 84.425D.

Should you have any additional questions, please contact Quentin Ransburg at