COVID Stimulus Funds Earmarked for Student Wellbeing at ETHS District 202
May 27, 2021 11:30am CT
After more than a year of adapting and reinventing education for the unpredictable demands of a pandemic, Evanston Township High School District 202 has earmarked COVID stimulus funds in student-centered areas: academic acceleration, health and safety, mental health services, and technology. In March 2021, ETHS announced changes to the 2021-22 school year that are designed to reintegrate all students academically, socially, and emotionally. By designating one-time COVID funds to support the transition to next school year, ETHS will begin to offset some of the expenses incurred during the past year.
“Our priority is to invest in our students and do everything we can to be responsive to their needs and support their academic and emotional growth,” said ETHS District 202 Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “Because COVID stimulus funds expire, ETHS is being careful to use short-term dollars for long-term benefit to our Wildkits.”
In order to plan for a safe return to full, in-person instruction in the classroom every school day, ETHS is looking at both established programs such as the multi-tiered system of support, as well as new initiatives such as mindfulness practices. By focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of students, ETHS will foster more equitable outcomes in academic and extracurricular areas. ETHS staff are also working to ensure continuity of services for low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, refugee students, and students experiencing homelessness.
In preparation for the start of summer school in June, ETHS has already seen the immediate need for financial resources. In addition to staffing summer learning and summer enrichment courses, ETHS must continue to maintain the health and safety of students and staff. Certain expenses like technology and cleaning supplies will continue to be a mainstay in school districts, while others like training and instructional planning will be more customized.
District leaders are also aligning efforts with the school’s ongoing equity work, often amplified by the challenges of the 2020-21 school year. “We will have to continue to adjust to the needs of our school community knowing the racial, ethnic, and socio-economic health disparities of COVID-19,” remarked ETHS Assistant Superintendent and Principal Marcus Campbell. “The context of our social justice and anti-racist work may have looked different this year, but we know that it continues to have a profound impact on students and families.”