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EANS Funding Program Guide: The Funds and How to Use Them

EANS Funding Guide
January 31, 2022

EANS Funding Program Guide: The Funds and How to Use Them

The recent stimulus bills support the EANS funding program that provides funding for schools, specifically non-public schools. Schools that qualify for this funding should take full advantage of it to upgrade their equipment and keep their students, teachers, and staff safe. 


Understanding the EANS Funding Program

The American Rescue Plan was signed in March 2021, and in addition to the ESSER III (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds, it also includes EANS funds. This stands for Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools. The EANS funds total $2.75 billion. 


The Goal

The goal of the EANS funds is to allow schools to continue to operate safely and educate their students. The funds specifically aim to prevent learning loss from an inability to safely attend school during the pandemic. 

The EANS program specifically aims to help schools with higher percentages of students who come from low-income families and communities that are the most affected by the pandemic. 

 

Which Schools Qualify

Faith-based non-public schools can apply as long as they meet the other requirements. Importantly, the EANS funds can only be used for non-ideological, neutral, and secular services or items.

Because the EANS program specifies elementary and secondary schools, preschools are not eligible. The exception is elementary schools with preschool components. 

 

Schools Don’t Directly Receive Funding – They Receive It Through the State

One important note about the EANS funds is that non-public schools do not directly receive or apply for this type of funding. Instead, the state does, and then the state is responsible for allocating the funds among the non-public schools that apply. 

 

Funding Applications and Receiving Funds 

Each governor had to apply for their state to receive their portion of the grant. They had to submit a Certification and Agreement by Feb. 22, 2021. You can view the allocation of funds for your state on the Awards or Allocation document

You can find more details about receiving the funds in the official EANS FAQ document. Put simply, every state has a year to distribute the EANS funds, starting on the day that they receive the funds. They must “obligate” the funds by Sep. 30, 2022, for ESSER I and GEER I. For ESSER II and GEER II, states must “obligate” the funds by Sep. 30, 2023. 

 

“Obligating” the funds refers to making a commitment to get the products, work, or services that non-public schools applied for. Simply approving the application for funds from a non-public school does not count as obligating. 

Your Application to the State


The EANS also outlines some information requirements for non-public schools to provide. State Educational Agencies (SEAs) must ask for the following information: 

 

  • Confirmation that they did not apply for a PPP loan (and will not)
  • The percentage and number of low-income students in the 2019 to 2020 school year
  • How COVID-19 affected the school (SEAs allocate more funds to the schools most impacted by COVID-19)
  • The assistance or services the school wants provided with the funds 
  • By the time you are reading this guide, you may have already completed your application, and the SEA has let your school know whether it was approved and the amount of funding you will receive.

When You Can Use the Funds


The assistance from EANS funds is designed to be long-term. For CRRSA EANS, it can be used until Sep. 30, 2023, and for ARP EANS, that extends until Sep. 30, 2024. 


It is also worth noting that when this period ends, and you no longer need the new equipment and supplies, your SEA is required to remove them. The SEA can then allocate them as needed. However, if your school qualifies to keep the supplies and equipment under another program, you will be eligible to keep them. 


What You Can Use the Funds For


The EANS funds are available to use for a wide variety of purposes, all of which go back to creating a safe learning environment that mitigates learning loss. 

 

Examples of How to Use the EANS Funds


The above list of how to use the EANS funds can be somewhat intimidating for schools. For your convenience, here are some examples of ways that you can use the funds in an approved way while helping your students, teachers, and staff. 


Physical Barriers 


One of the most important items eligible for using your EANS funds is a physical barrier. Physical barriers let you physically separate students from each other, whether in classrooms, the lunchroom, or other areas. These barriers are especially important when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19 particles in the air. 


Most physical barriers are designed to sit on top of tables or desks. However, you can also find taller barriers. These are ideal for multi-purpose spaces or the youngest elementary students who still have playtime. You can place these barriers in play areas so students can see each other and do various activities without worrying about particles. There are also similar options ideal for secondary schools, such as for gym or music classes. 


Desks and Tables for Social Distancing


Depending on the way that your classrooms are currently arranged, some of the EANS funds should likely go to individual desks. If your school already uses individual desks for students, you may need to use the funding to get smaller ones, as this will free up more space for social distancing. 


However, this need is more of a concern for schools where students sit at tables in groups instead of individually. This tends to be more common in elementary schools and in the classrooms for electives in schools of all levels. It isn’t practical to social distance when sitting at the same table. But by purchasing individual student desks, you make this possible. 


If you plan on using some of the funding for physical barriers, be sure to choose desks that will work with these barriers. As a bonus, individual desks are still versatile enough to place in groups if COVID-19 becomes under control. 


Antibacterial Seating


Depending on the new desks you purchase or the new ways classrooms are organized, you may need to buy new chairs as well. If this is the case, it makes sense to opt for antibacterial seating instead of standard seating. It is a simple upgrade that makes a difference in terms of safety. 


Even if you do not need to replace your school’s seating, it is worth considering using funds for antibacterial seating in certain areas. For example, consider doing so in the nurse’s office, as sick kids are likely to end up there. Or perhaps in the front office, as this is likely to have the most visitors. 

 

Antibacterial Seating

Depending on the new desks you purchase or the new ways classrooms are organized, you may need to buy new chairs as well. If this is the case, it makes sense to opt for antibacterial seating instead of standard seating. It is a simple upgrade that makes a difference in terms of safety. 


Even if you do not need to replace your school’s seating, it is worth considering using funds for antibacterial seating in certain areas. For example, consider doing so in the nurse’s office, as sick kids are likely to end up there. Or perhaps in the front office, as this is likely to have the most visitors. 

 

Air Purification and Ventilation

 

Another type of use of EANS funding explicitly outlined in the official FAQs is for air purification and ventilation upgrades. The document outlines that this applies to various solutions, from windows to portable air purifiers. Air purifiers tend to be a much easier option for schools to implement. After all, they do not require construction and are highly portable. As a bonus, most also only require minimal space. 


The goal behind investing in air purification systems for your school would be to reduce the number of virus particles in the air. This is important in any school space. However, it is especially crucial in areas like the lunchroom or staffroom, where students and staff are likely to take their masks off. 

Other Materials for Maintaining Health and Safety


While air purification systems are important, they are far from the only items that can help you maintain the health and safety of your students, staff, and faculty. 


Some of these will overlap with the physical barriers, as those are a matter of safety. But you will also want to ensure there are enough areas for everyone in the building to keep their hands clean. This can range from hand sanitizer dispensers to mobile sinks. The question will become whether you just want to place these dispensers and hand-washing stations at the entrances to the school and lunchroom or if you also want one for each classroom. 


You will also want to consider dispensers for other disposable sanitation items, such as gloves and paper towels. You may even want to get creative and find a solution for storing extra disposable masks. 


Your school may also want to consider medical supply carts or similar solutions. Placing several of these throughout the school can reduce the need for students to visit the nurse’s office, reducing crowding there and allowing for more social distancing. 


Materials for Hybrid Learning


As mentioned in the EANS information, you can also use part of your funding for materials and technology that streamline hybrid and remote learning. Some of this will come from technological investments, such as in software that lets teachers and students interact from their own homes. 


However, you will also need to get equipment and furniture for the classrooms with hybrid learning. This ensures that students at home and in the classroom have access to the same software and get a similar experience. 


As such, you may want to spend some of your EANS funds on multimedia tables. These are tables specifically designed to make using multimedia devices easier. They typically feature charging outlets or bars, so you can keep devices plugged in. Combine these with the laptops, desktops, or tablets that your school requested for students. 


The key here is to ensure that your students’ devices can always remain fully powered, so there are no interruptions to their learning sessions. Similarly, you want to ensure the teacher’s computer or tablet has a steady power source, as the students at home rely on that device to stream the class. 


Or, if the desks and tables already in the classroom seem to be a good fit and all of the devices have long power cords, you can also consider using the funds to get a charging system that will let multiple students run wires to charge their devices at once. Just make sure that you can do so without creating trip hazards or negatively affecting the ability of students to social distance. 


Individual Storage


Depending on how your classrooms are set up and whether students have lockers, you may want to consider individual classroom storage bin systems. These let each student have their own storage areas within the classroom for their supplies. This is especially important for younger students, as they are less likely to have lockers and typically have more supplies than can easily fit in their desks. For example, they may store their art supplies in these bins. 


These bins can also be used to hold coats or backpacks in elementary classrooms at schools where students don’t have lockers. 


Some schools may also want to consider looking for antibacterial storage systems with trays and cubbies as a similar option that adds extra sanitation. 

Depending on how your classrooms are set up and whether students have lockers, you may want to consider individual classroom storage bin systems. These let each student have their own storage areas within the classroom for their supplies. This is especially important for younger students, as they are less likely to have lockers and typically have more supplies than can easily fit in their desks. For example, they may store their art supplies in these bins.

These bins can also be used to hold coats or backpacks in elementary classrooms at schools where students don’t have lockers.

Some schools may also want to consider looking for antibacterial storage systems with trays and cubbies as a similar option that adds extra sanitation.

 

Conclusion


The EANS funding provides the opportunity for your school to improve its sanitation and social distancing measures. You can use the funds to keep the air clean, encourage social distancing, and help with hybrid learning, among other uses. 


Sources:

Office of Elementary & Secondary Education

EANS Funding Program FAQ

Florida Department of Education

Catapult Learning EANS FAQ

EANS Program Requirements

New York State Education Dept.

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