ESSER III Information

ESSER Return to School Continuity Plan

On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plans (ARP) was signed into law.  In it, the U.S. Department of Education is providing an additional $121.9 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER III Fund).  Waukegan Community Unit School District 60 (WPS60) is allotted a total of $50,586,354 in ESSER III (ARP).  A total of $43,375,340 was made available directly to the District with a requirement that 20% of that amount must be spent to address learning loss.  The remaining allocation is considered state level reservations for learning loss, summer enrichment and after school activities in amounts of $5,150,724, $1,030,145 and $1,030,145, respectively.

District 60 is planning for full in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year.  We are excited to welcome all students back to school in August.  This plan describes how WPS60 will provide the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services for all schools, including those that have already returned to in-person instruction.  This report template complies with all reporting requirements of the ARP Act (Public Law 117-2), the ESSER III grant terms, conditions, and assurances (CFDA Number 84.425U, and the interim final rule established by the United States Department of Education, 86 FR 21195.

WPS60 provided the public the opportunity to provide input on the development of the plan and took such input into account when developing this plan.

We continue to await further guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education on any changes to health and safety guidelines for re-opening. The District’s Return to School Plan is intended to be a living document that outlines efforts to support all students and evolves to meet the needs of those whose educational progress is most in jeopardy as a result of the negative impact of the pandemic. 


ESSER III Community Stake Holder Survey

Data shows that the pandemic has had a significant impact on student learning, both across the country and in Waukegan Community Unit School District 60.

Waukegan Community Unit School District 60 is launching a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process to help determine how it should potentially spend additional federal dollars to address COVID-19 recovery, including unfinished learning and COVID prevention and mitigation practices.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) was signed into law in March by President Joe Biden included $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for school districts across the country, which is the single largest investment in federal elementary and secondary education in the nation’s history. Waukegan CUSD 60 is slated by ISBE to receive some of that additional funding.

The 2021-2022 Staff Safety Protocol Handbook, which is currently under review, will continue to be updated throughout the summer as needed based on updated recommendations.

Additional information being discussed at the District's Budget Workshops can be reviewed in the District's Budget Workshops' PowerPoint presentations.

All parents, district employees, students and community members are urged to complete a survey to help the district determine what to prioritize with the potential ESSER funds. School districts are limited in what they can use ESSER funds to support.

Participating respondents' input was compiled as of FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2021.

Community Stake Holder Survey Results
Community Stake Holder Survey Comments

Budget Workshop #1

Tuesday, May 12, 2021, 6 p.m.

FY22 Budget Workshop #1
FY22 Strategic Budget Requests
Workshop Meeting Recording


Budget Workshop #2

Wednesday, June 9, 2021, 6 p.m.

FY22 Budget Workshop #2
Workshop Meeting Recording


Budget Workshop #3

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021, 6 p.m.

FY22 Budget Workshop #3
Workshop Meeting Recording

Frequently Asked Questions

Data shows that the pandemic has had a significant impact on student learning, across the country and in Waukegan CUSD60.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) was signed into law in March by President Joe Biden included $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for school districts across the country.

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) on the ESSER funds.

  • What is the purpose of the ARP ESSER III funds?

The purpose of ESSER in general is to award subgrants to school districts such as Waukegan CUSD60 to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools. The aim of ESSER III funding is to enable Waukegan CUSD60 to develop a plan for the “safe return to in-person learning and continuity of services for the purpose of promoting transparency and accountability for funds usage” by the District.

  • How much funding is available to WPS60?

A total of $43,375,341 is available to the District. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has a list of available funds for all of the state’s school districts on its website.

  • How does WPS60 know its grant amount?

Grant allocations will are posted on ISBE’s web page at{A961858C-F081-4F7E-94AD-6C0654D4883F}&file=Total-ESSER-Allocations.xlsx&action=default&DefaultItemOpen=1.

  • What is the funding period for ARP ESSER III grants?

Funds may be used for allowable activities from March 13, 2020 (with approved pre-award) through Sept. 30, 2024.

  • What are the federal requirements around the District ESSER III Use of Funds Plan?

WPS60 must engage in meaningful consultation with stakeholders and give the public an opportunity to provide input in the development of its plan for the uses of ARP ESSER III funds. As there is no prescriptive process for garnering community input, Waukegan CUSD60 has chosen to utilize a community stakeholder survey to solicit meaningful input for the ARP ESEER III Grant.

To encourage participation, the availability of the community stakeholder survey will be advertised by Waukegan CUSD60 via email as well as at the forthcoming Budget Workshop(s) and Board of Education meetings.

Waukegan CUSD60 must provide its plan for the uses of ARP ESSER III funds in an understandable and uniform format. Waukegan CUSD60’s plan for the uses of ARP ESSER III funds will be posted to the District’s website within 30 days of receiving its ESSER III Notice of Grant Award.

  • Are the ESSER III funds required to be used for specific purposes?

Yes, Waukegan CUSD60 per grant guidelines must expend a minimum of 20 percent of their grant funds to address “the academic impact of lost instructional time” (aka learning loss). Waukegan CUSD60 can spend these funds on:

  1. Evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning, extended day
    comprehensive after school programs, or extended school year programs;
  2. Ensure interventions respond to students’ academic, social, emotional and
    mental health needs and address the disproportionate impact of
    coronavirus on student populations as defined in ESEA, Title I, Part A,
    students experiencing homelessness, students with disabilities, migratory
    students and youth in foster care.
  • Are there recommended uses of ESSER III funds that will assist school districts in addressing the impact of the COVID pandemic and disruptions leading to learning loss?

While keeping in mind the purpose and requirements under ESSER III related to accelerating student learning, it is strongly encouraged that school systems plan how to use these "one-time" federal funds expeditiously over the entire covered period to facilitate a more comprehensive long-term approach to learning acceleration. This process may include aligned strategies that are currently part of our District’s current plans and strategies. Refer to the below list for examples:

  • Professional Development: comprehensive Reading Academies, high-quality instructional materials, dyslexia training, professional development stipends, technology integration training;
  • Extended Instructional Time: extended day, extended year, high-dosage tutoring, summer learning;
  • Staffing: tutors, reduced class sizes, small group instruction, staff retention and recruitment incentive pay, after school enrichment programs, instructional coaching and leadership;
  • Facilities: ventilation, cleaning, HVAC systems, specialized instructional spaces;
  • Technology: devices, infrastructure upgrades, learning management systems, digital tools, educational application;
  • Mental Health and Behavioral Supports: social workers, at-risk coordinators, additional counseling services, teacher training and programming, wrap-around and community partnerships.


  • What are some of the allowable uses of the ARP ESSER III funds?

ESSER funds are designated to be used in any or all of designated areas, which include addressing learning loss, providing professional development, improving indoor air quality, providing social and emotional supports, updating and providing technology, and other areas addressing health standards such as:

  • Universal and correct mask wearing
  • Physical distancing and modifications necessary to achieve the same
  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
  • Facility cleaning and maintenance
  • Contact tracing and isolation/quarantine
  • Diagnostic and screening testing
  • Vaccination efforts
  • Accommodations for students with disabilities
  • Coordination with local health officials


COVID Memoranda of Understanding and Policy

The MOUs listed below are in effect through the end of the summer term, July 23, 2021, through mutual agreement of the parties.

Absence MOU
Site Based Safety Teams MOU
IFT- Screening MOU
Classroom Supervision MOU

COVID Health and Safety Policy 8002-2021
Board Policy Suspension Summary

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