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In accordance with the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, districts accepting ARP-ESSER funding are required to update the Safe Return Plan for the continued safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services for all schools, as well as post the updated plans on their websites as required by ARP Act section 2001(i)(1), the New Jersey Department of Education noted in an advisory.

Since these plans serve as local guidelines for all instructional and noninstructional school activities throughout the entire ARP-ESSER project period, under U.S. Department of Education regulations, districts must update them periodically, but no less frequently than every six months through September 2024. Plans also are to be updated whenever there are significant changes to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for K-12 schools. As with the initial plan, all revisions must be informed by community input and approved by a district’s board of education prior to posting it on the district’s website.

Actions Required

Local educational agencies will submit an updated Safe Return Plan encompassing all the schools in their district. Safe Return Plans can be amended by logging into the EWEG system through NJDOE Homeroom, selecting the GMS Access/Select link found on the main menu screen, and completing the following steps:

  • At the top left side of the page, Select Fiscal Year 2022 from the drop-down list.
  • On the ARP Safe Return Plan line, click the ‘Amend’ button.
  • Enter the required information in each tab.
  • Run the Consistency Check to identify any errors or omissions.
  • Submit the report to the NJDOE.

For questions concerning the completion and submission of the ARP-ESSER Safe Return Plan, please contact the Office of Grants Management at 609-376-9089 or the ESSER Help Desk via email.