Districts accepting money from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund must 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), according to an advisory from the New Jersey Department of Education.
Since these plans serve as local guidelines for all instructional and noninstructional school activities throughout the entire ARP-ESSER project period, districts must update them periodically, but no less frequently than every six months through Sept. 20, 2023. 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.
Local educational agencies must submit an updated Safe Return Plan encompassing all the schools in their district. Safe Return Plans can be amended by logging into the Electronic Web-Enabled Grants system through the NJDOE Homeroom webpage, 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 menu.
- 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.
If you have questions concerning the completion and submission of the ARP-ESSER Safe Return Plan, contact the Office of Grants Management at 609-376-9089 or the ESSER Help Desk via email.