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Wood County Schools sets out to prioritize Recovery Act money

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - In June, Wood County’s summer learning program was one of the first to benefit from money from the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief fund (ESSA).

The school system this summer received its first allocation of the $35 million it’s slated to get. And Director of Federal Programs Tammy McKnight says there’s three goals for the money.

“We are making sure that we are taking care of three priorities: number one is learning innovation, number two is the health and safety of our students and staff, and number three is providing facilities that are comfortable and conducive to learning in all of our locations,” McKnight said Tuesday.

Also planned: how to address the challenges students faced after the pandemic forced virtual learning for several months, and-even before COVID-19-a long-standing issue of air quality in school buildings.

”If you can say there’s one blessing that came out of this for Wood County Schools, based on the pandemic,” McKnight says, “that would be that we are able to address some very needed initiatives, very needed items, that before we were not able to address.”

McKnight says the priorities resulted from a lot of public comments.

“We had several meetings with everyone from students to parents to (local school improvement council) groups, to decide what was important. We also did a survey that had more than 400 responses about priorities for spending this money.”

Wood County so far has gotten $8 million. She says her task is to spend it the way the federal government intends.

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