For this upcoming school year, the federal government enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act, which provides immediate relief to states, districts, schools, and students. This article will break down the CARES Act for schools and which authorized uses of funding are eligible for wellness screenings and visitor management--services Visitu provides to educational facilities across the country.
The CARES Act passed March 2020 and allocated $30.75 billion to aid in the relief to qualified schools who are in need of procedures, systems and technology to promote safety for their students and faculty during the COVID-19 pandemic. This package includes $13.5 million formula funding directly to each state. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are 12 authorized uses of the allocated CARES Act funding:
- Any activity authorized by the ESEA of 1965, including the Native Hawaiian Education Act and the Alaska Native Educational Equity, Support, and Assistance Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Adult Education, and Family Literacy Act, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, or subtitle B of title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.
- Coordination of preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies with state, local, tribal, and territorial public health departments, and other relevant agencies, to improve coordinated responses among such entities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
- Providing principals and other school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their schools.
- Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population.
- Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies.
- Training and professional development for staff of the local educational agency on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
- Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of a local educational agency, including buildings operated by such agencies.
- Planning for and coordinating during long-term closures, including how to provide meals to eligible students, how to provide technology for online learning to all students, how to provide guidance for carrying out requirements under IDEA and how to ensure other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all Federal, State, and local requirements.
- Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the local educational agency that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and students with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.
- Providing mental health services and supports.
- Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental after school programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
- Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ an existing staff of the local educational agency.
The most important part to take into consideration when using CARES Act funding, if your school qualifies, is to identify your facility’s most critical needs, to ensure the move into the school year is safe and efficient. With the 12 authorized uses--states, districts, and schools have extreme flexibility on what the funds can be used for under the CARES Act. It is paramount that stakeholders in your organization decide on your highest priorities to ensure that children with the greatest needs are taken care of and safe in their school and home environments. At Visitu, we offer a comprehensive solution to create a safe school environment during the pandemic with a one-platform system. Visitu can be eligible for the CARES Act funding under the fifth authorized use, “Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies."
The Visitu SafeCampus platform can help you keep your campus open, safe, and in compliance. Touch-free check-in, wellness screening, contact tracing, and capacity management are just some of the ways Visitu protects your people and helps you manage campus safety.
Safe, secure, and super simple, the Visitu visitor kiosk allows you to set up your front desk check-in to be completely touch-free upon entrance. Visitors easily check-in by facial ID or by scanning their quick badge or employee badge and finish the check-in process using the free Visitu mobile app.
With Visitu, you can survey visitors when they arrive, but more importantly, you can screen your students and staff before they enter your campus. Ask simple questions about recent travel and current state of health using the customizable survey tool. Share a public link to allow your survey to be taken via email or Visitu mobile app. Set up schedule notifications, such as sending out a survey reminder to all parents/guardians of students at 7 am daily. Based on survey answers, designated personnel will be alerted if a high-risk person might be entering your campus.
Contact tracing involves identifying people who are likely to get sick because of being in contact with those who have tested positive. Contact tracing is a critical component of safely staying open and remaining open.
If someone has attended your campus and tests positive for COVID-19 coronavirus at a later date, Visitu's contact tracing tool allows you to easily trace when they were in the building, along with all other visitors to the premises during that time.
You can easily require a visitor’s signature regarding coronavirus policies at your campus with the digital agreements feature. Simply upload your agreement and check the required signature box for visitors to acknowledge before they may proceed with the check-in process.
Ensure only a set amount of visitors may be on campus at a time. When that limit is reached, visitors will be added to a waitlist. They may remain in their vehicle, outside, or other designated space. Once you are ready for them to enter your campus, the Visitu visitor management tool will send them a notification instructing them to proceed with the check-in process.
For more information on how the Visitu SafeCampus software can help you keep your organization open, safe, and in compliance during the pandemic, please contact us at 813.591.4800 or schedule a demo today.