ARP ESSER III Safe In-Person Return Plan

The purpose of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III Fund is to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impacts of COVID-19 on the nation’s students by addressing students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. This plan describes how Anchor Bay School District (“ABSD”) will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other school staff during and following the return to full in-person instruction. 

A summary of the ABSD response to COVID-19 has been posted at

ABSD has taken and will continue to take actions to ensure the health and safety of students, educators, and other school staff during and following the return to full in-person instruction. A description of actions already taken and additional actions planned is below.

Steps to maintain health and safety during and following the return to full in-person instruction are highlighted below. Please note, unless otherwise stated, programs were in place in August 2021 for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

  • ABSD has adopted policies on each of the following safety recommendations established by the Macomb County Health Department: 
    1. Recommended correct wearing of masks 
    2. Modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing 
    3. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette 
    4. Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation 
    5. Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the Macomb County Health Department 
    6. Coordination with state and local health officials 
  • ABSD has conducted and reported COVID-19 diagnostic and screening testing as directed by Macomb County Health Department (COVID-19 Case Reporting).
  • Provision of vaccinations to school communities in collaboration with the Macomb County Health Department and Macomb Intermediate School District.
  • Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies. 

ABSD has taken and will continue to take actions to ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ and staff's social, emotional, mental health, and other needs.  ABSD is committed to continuity of learning during the 2021-22 school year and is using layered prevention strategies to do everything possible to ensure our schools remain safe, healthy and open. Our plan is to remain open using these strategies unless directed otherwise by health officials or Executive Order.  A plan is in place to ensure External Linkcontinuity of learning in the event health authorities or an Executive Order require a temporary closure to protect the health of students, staff, and the community.

Details for services are described below:

  • ABSD Food and Nutrition Services team offers no-cost meals to all students and children under the age of 18 who reside within the district boundaries through June 2022.
  • A virtual instruction program was created to support students who preferred to remain virtual or have an underlying medical condition. 
  • Recovery Services are available to students with disabilities who suffered significant educational impact due to the COVID-19 school closure and virtual learning during the 2020-21 school year. Recovery Services are designed to address learning gaps and are determined by IEP teams.
  • ABSD uses a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) framework to make decisions in order to provide high quality instruction and intervention - and to address student academic social, emotional, mental health needs.
  • Summer Learning Programs were expanded to meet the needs of students at every grade level and were provided free of charge.

ABSD sought External Linkpublic input  during School Board reconfirmation hearings held in October of 2020 through June of 2021 and took such input into account during the development of this plan.

During the period of the ARP ESSER award (until September 2023), ABSD will periodically review and, as needed, revise its plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services. The plan will be reviewed at least every six months, and ABSD will seek and take into account public input during the review process. Plan revisions will address updated Macomb County Health Department and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services guidance on safely reopening schools, if any are issued.

ARP ESSER III Spending Plan

The purpose of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III Fund is to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impacts of COVID-19 on the nation’s students by addressing students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs Anchor Bay School District has been awarded $1,915,944 in ESSER III funds. This plan describes how the awarded funds will be used. Questions about this plan should be directed to Todd Rathbun, Assistant Superintendent at

Anchor Bay School District has a comprehensive plan for addressing students’ academic, social-emotional and mental health needs while safely reopening and sustaining mitigation and safety measures related to COVID-19. This ESSER III funding will support human and material resources to address unfinished learning, professional learning for professional educators and instructional leaders, social-emotional supports, and mental health healing professionals and resources.

ARP Act ESSER III funds may be used to purchase educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students who are served by the local educational agency that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and students with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment. Anchor Bay School District will use about two percent (2%) of its ARP Act ESSER III funds to implement the purchase of technology for students to access differentiated instruction software that will tailor instruction to meet the individual needs of each student.

Section 2001(e)(1) of the ARP Act requires each LEA to use twenty percent (20%) of its formula funds to address the academic impact of lost instructional time (learning loss) through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs. Anchor Bay School District will use approximately sixty percent (60%) of its ARP Act ESSER III funds to address unfinished learning as described below.

ABSD has developed a comprehensive plan that will utilize approximately 60% of the ABSD formula funds to address learning loss/unfinished learning or over $1.1 million of the total amount available to ABSD. The plan includes key commitments and identified research-based best practices that are all focused on recovery, acceleration, and re-engagement.

The ARPA funding for addressing unfinished learning will be spent on the following overall resource, service, and support areas:

  1. Additional human resources to support academics and mental health needs to include high dosage tutoring, extended/expanded learning time, and expanded summer learning opportunities for students.
  2. Additional materials, learning resources, and common assessments that support the rigorous, accelerated, and aligned standards-based learning in the identified academic areas of mathematics, English language arts, science, social studies and social-emotional learning.
  3. Activities and staff to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population.

Overall, the ABSD recovery plan is aligned to the core values of equity, integrity, and academic success for all students. Student needs and factors impacting academic and opportunity gaps, student performance and engagement, social-emotional well-being, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students within a school’s community are all factors that ABSD is using to determine the distribution and implementation of additional resources, supports, and services to schools and students.

Beyond these identified investments toward addressing unfinished learning, ESSER III funding also supports the hiring of summer school teachers, thus giving our students summer school opportunities for students with disabilities and focused instruction for our English Learner students.

Section 2001(e) of the ARP Act permits school divisions to use the ARP Act ESSER III funding not reserved to address unfinished learning to address the impacts of COVID-19 in a variety of ways. ABSD will use approximately thirty-eight percent (38%) of its ARP Act ESSER III funds in accordance with Section 2001(e) of the ARP Act as described below.

A portion of ABSD comprehensive plan will use 38% of the ARP Act ESSER III funds to address students’ social, emotional, and mental health by hiring additional counselors, psychologists and social workers to work directly with students.

ABSD is committed to ensuring the emotional well-being of our students and staff to ensure our communities thrive. Social-emotional support can be particularly important for students with disabilities as it emphasizes relationships and social interactions, helping students to develop a sense of safety and belonging. Virtual learning has taken a heavy toll on students with disabilities and their families, so it is important to continue building relationships and support individual student needs upon the continued return to in-person instruction. Schools will receive support to assess student and staff emotional needs and lay the foundation for focused engagement and healing. As such, ABSD will focus on creating supportive school environments and strong teacher-student relationships that will remove barriers to learning and speed recovery from learning loss.

In developing the ARP ESSER III Spending Plan, ABSD conducted consultation in the following ways:

  • With stakeholders, including: students, families, school and district administrators (including special education administrators), teachers, principals, school leaders, other educators, school staff, and their unions — To gain community input, ABSD conducted a public meeting on December 1, 2021. Additionally, the ABSD conducted a stakeholder survey in which nearly 1,200 people responded;
  • With Tribes; civil rights organizations (including disability rights organizations); and stakeholders representing the interests of children with disabilities, English learners, children experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, migratory students, and other underserved students — The public meetings and stakeholder survey provided multiple opportunities for organizations and stakeholders representing the interests of these identified student groups to provide input; and
  • Numerous meetings with district administration including: the District’s Elementary and Secondary Directors, Principals, Director of Special Education Services, Director of Technology, Facility supervisor, Food Service and Nutrition Supervisor to identify student needs; and
  • By providing the public the opportunity to provide input and taking such input into account:

The ABSD comprehensive plan strongly aligns the community/stakeholder input on funding use priorities. The following themes were identified from inputs described above and are clearly reflected in the plan’s key commitments and funding priorities.

  • A focus on student social-emotional needs and mental health needs of students;
  • Support for at-risk student populations; and
  • Providing targeted, evidence-based interventions and extended learning programs (before school, after school, and Saturday school etc.).

Best practices, derived from current educational research, have been contextualized for use in our community in keeping with these priorities to meet the individual needs of students by equitably distributing additional federal resources to support acceleration in student learning and social-emotional wellness as we recover, reconnect, and re-engage with in-person learning.


For answers to questions on this grant, contact Todd Rathbun, Assistant Superintendent, at (586) 725-2861 or via email at