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COVID-19 has disrupted our communities in almost every way, especially education. To help address the impacts of COVID-19 and prepare our communities for reopening, our Nation’s administrations have passed stimulus packages that included funding for K-12 education.

In this post, we will be taking a look into the amount of funding allocated to states for addressing education needs and the approved uses of those funds. There are three packages that this post will focus on. They are The CARES Act, the COVID Relief Package, and The American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief package.


The first relief package introduced was The CARES Act. Signed into law on March 27, 2020, by President Trump, it made around $13 billion available to K-12 schools out of the total of $2.2 trillion allocated. This Act is often referred to as CARES.

The COVD Relief Package

In addition to the CARES Act, Congress approved additional education funding in December of 2020. This funding included $54 billion for K-12 education out of the total $900 billion stimulus package.

The American Rescue Plan

The final relief package we’re going to cover is the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief. Enacted on March 11th, 2021, under the Biden Administration, this relief package delivers around $122 billion to K-12 schools. This relief package is often referred to as ARP ESSER.

What can my funds be used for?

As it was mentioned at the top of the post, these funds were designated to help K-12 schools address the needs of schools impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. What does that mean exactly? Can you use it for providing lunches? What about updating facilities for better airflow? 

One might think that the three different relief packages are designated for different areas of improvement. Luckily, they are all very similar, if not the same, in how they can be used. According to the Department of Education’s website, ARP ESSER funds are to be used for:

  • Improving facility ventilation
  • Purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Acquiring additional space for teaching environments
  • Avoiding layoffs of teachers and staff
  • Hiring additional teachers and staff
  • Addressing learning loss
  • Training and professional development on sanitizing and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases
  • Meeting social, mental health, emotional and academic needs of students hardest hit by the pandemic through evidence-based interventions and critical services
  • Funding extended learning and enrichment programs; like summer schools and afterschool programs
  • Hiring additional staff to keep schools safe and healthy
  • Providing for distancing protocols on buses
  • Providing Wi-Fi devices for students for remote learning
  • Providing educational technology hardware and software to students
  • Supporting educators in the effective use of technology
  • Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts
  • Providing meals to eligible students
  • Activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of and services

Can CARES and ARP ESSER funds be used for a visitor management system?

Yes, but it depends on the visitor management system you’re researching. The iVisitor Management system fulfills multiple approved uses of the funds listed above.

1. Training and professional development for sanitizing and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.

The iVisitor Management system was updated in 2020 with brand new features to address COVID-19. These include:

  • Remote-Links: Remote-Links allows schools to create shareable stations that are used for a wide variety of activities. These activities include recording staff hours while working remotely, restricting visitor traffic on campus, and more.
  • Wellness screening questionnaires: Customize your iVisitor Management system to ask your visitors, staff, and students relevant wellness questions before they enter campus and when they leave.
COVID-19 screening remotely via iVisitor Management

2. Providing meals to eligible students

The iVisitor Management system is a great tool when providing meals to eligible students. You’ll minimize the paperwork,  have your student list in the palm of your hand, and log all the meals passed out. You can then create a report and share it with your other staff members.

3. Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts

Use iVisitor Management for your contact tracing needs. Run a report if notified of a positive case. See everyone who has signed in for the day and take the necessary steps to handle the situation.

If there’s a situation that has been elevated to an emergency, iVisitor Management will quickly notify all necessary staff members. You can quickly and easily create a custom emergency message to send from your phone, tablet, or computer. The Ident-A-Kid Web Manager records all emergencies, where you can see their statuses and responses. 

Using Purchasing Cooperatives to purchase iVisitor Management

A purchasing cooperative simplifies the purchasing process for many items, like a visitor management system. By being a member, you’re able to issue a purchase order for the approved vendors without having to go out for a bid first. 

Luckily, Ident-A-Kid is an awarded vendor of the Goodbuy, TIPS, and 1GPA cooperatives. Submitting a purchase order for a school visitor management system is easy. You’ll need to register or sign in to your account, browse awarded contracts on the cooperative’s website, then issue a purchase order!

For more information, feel free to contact us! We can help walk you through and explain the requirements for leveraging these powerful purchasing tools.

1GPA and TIPS purchasing cooperatives

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