The CARES (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security) Act provides federal stimulus dollars to assist state agencies, local school districts, businesses, organizations, families and students, and other entities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a state, West Virginia received more than a billion dollars under the federal CARES Act. Approximately $86.6 million of those dollars were specifically put into a fund titled the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF). This allocation is specifically earmarked to assist schools to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools in West Virginia.
Of the $86.6 million ESSERF appropriation, 90% ($78 million) of the fund goes directly to county school districts to use at their discretion. The CARES Act provides that the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) may retain 10% ($8.6 million) to address emergency needs as determined by the WVDE resulting from COVID-19. Superintendent Burch previously announced the entirety of the $8.6 million will also go to counties, allocated on a competitive grant basis focused on three statewide priorities: (1) addressing the achievement gap; (2) addressing technology and equity issues; and (3) addressing the social/emotional needs of students.