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, and they must also 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, local educational agencies must update them periodically, but no less frequently than every six months through Sept. 20, 2024.

Plans are also to be updated whenever there are significant changes to Centers for Disease Control recommendations for LEAs. All revisions must be informed by community input and approved by an LEA’s board of education or board of trustees prior to posting it on the LEA’s website.

Actions Required

LEAs will 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 Grant 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 New Jersey Department of Education.

If you have 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.