The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) confirmed for School Transportation News that school districts can use the latest round of COVID-19 relief grants to purchase school bus ventilation systems.
A DOE spokesperson responded on Friday via email to a question asking if the ventilation systems are an acceptable use of funds under section 1313 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 to improve air quality in school facilities and to minimize the risk of coronavirus disease transmission.
Signed into law by President Donald Trump last month, the act includes over $54 billion for K-12 public schools, including charter schools, to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Those funds can also be used for the use of and training on personal protective equipment as well as sanitization and disinfectant supplies, “reasonable transportation costs,” which could include providing meals, and “physical barriers to facilitate social distancing.” Money is also available to support services required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act.
Additionally, the act provides $4.09 billion to replenish the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, which covers COVID-19 response.
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