Bethlehem, PA – October 27, 2020 – State Senator Lisa M. Boscola announced today the Commonwealth is allocating $1,520,789 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSR) for school districts in the 18th Senatorial Districts to provide health and safety services for students and to purchase PPE and cleaning and sanitizing products for schools due to COVID-19. 

“I was pleased to learn that this funding through the CARES Act will be assisting our school districts in ensuring their facilities are sanitized and safe for our students getting their education, as well as providing the necessary services and technology needed for students to be successful with their schoolwork during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Senator Boscola stated.   “Our Commonwealth must remain diligent in working with our school districts to ensure both the needs for our students and teachers are met.”

The following school districts will be awarded funding:

  • Bethlehem Area SD $452,553
  • Catasauqua Area SD $47,242
  • East Penn SD $258,437
  • Easton Area SD $273,669
  • Northampton Area SD $167,207
  • Salisbury Township SD $48,467
  • Saucon Valley SD $63,918
  • Whitehall-Coplay SD $137,941
  • Wilson Area SD $71,355

School districts can use the money for any of the following purposes:

  • Purchasing of cleaning and sanitizing products that meet CDC or PA Department of Health criteria.
  • Training and professional development of staff on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious disease.
  • Purchasing of equipment, including PPE, thermometers, infrared cameras and other necessary cameras.
  • Modification of existing areas to effectuate appropriate social distancing to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.
  • Providing mental health services and supports, including trauma-informed approaches for students impacted by COVID.
  • Purchasing educational technology for distance learning to ensure continuity of education.
  • Other health and safety programs, items or services necessary to address COVID.

            The funding distribution of the $49.8 million available statewide to school districts was approved earlier today by the Commonwealth’s School Safety and Security Committee.  The funding was included in the state budget enacted in May and had been on hold pending approval for the use of funds by the United States Department of Education, which came last week.  As part of the $200,000 million in CARES Act funding for school related COVID-19 costs approved in the May budget, $150 million had already been distributed to school entities.