Legislative Update: Federal Information in Response to COVID-19


Legislative Update: Federal Information in Response to COVID-19

This week, additional federal information was announced in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Read below to learn more about the availability of grant funds for governors, waiver requests that apply to Career Technical Education (CTE) and guidance about donating or loaning medical supplies and equipment. 
Department Announces Availability of Emergency Grants for Governors
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the $2.9 billion for the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund – authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act- will be made available to states. The GEER Fund is one of three parts of the Education Stabilization Fund under the CARES Act, and must be used to support education services during the Coronavirus pandemic. Once each state receives money through this grant the State Educational Agency (SEA) will determine which Local Educational Agency (LEA) will receive funding and the governor will grant funding to higher education institutions. The governor can also designate any LEA, higher education institution or “educated related entity” as essential and therefore able to receive this funding.
Included in authorized designation of funds is the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). State CTE Directors can elevate necessary resources and supports to receive money through the GEER Fund. Funds are expected to be distributed within three days of receipt of application.

  • The application, including instructions, can be found here. Once completed it can be digitally signed and a PDF must be emailed to GEERF@ed.gov;
  • State allocations for the GEER Fund can be found here;
  • The notice of availability of the GEER Fund can be found here; and 
  • A letter from Secretary DeVos to governors can be found here

OCTAE Shares Tydings Amendment Waiver for Perkins V
On Thursday, Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE)  in the U.S. Department of Education, shared a letter regarding the CARES Act authorization of SEA waiver requests for section 421(b) of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), commonly referred to as the Tydings Amendment. The Tydings Amendment allows the flexibility to extend the period that states may use federal grants. The CARES Act provides the opportunity to request the Tydings Amendment to apply to Perkins V funding. The waiver request template can be found here
Department Issues Guidance on Donation or Loan of Personal Protective Equipment and Medical Supplies 
Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education released a memo that gives guidance on loaning or donating certain medical supplies or equipment, if that equipment was originally purchased using funds from a Department grant program. The memo indicates that donating personal protective equipment (PPE) or medical supplies to health providers that have been purchased with funds provided by the Department are allowed. Some of the guidance also includes:

  • Direction that grantees can loan or donate PPE (e.g. masks, face shields, gloves), other medical supplies or equipment (e.g, ventilators) or even equipment that can be used to produce these medical supplies, such as 3D printers;
  • The Department will provide grantees and subgrantees a class exception for uses of grant funds, authorized by OMB Memo M-20-20;
  • Requirement that grantees and subgrantees must keep detailed records on donating or loan items and maintain these records for at least three years (page 2);
  • Indication that the Department intends to follow-up with grantees in the future regarding the donations or loans of equipment (page 2); and 
  • Direction that additional questions can be sent to COVID-19@ed.gov.

U.S. Department of Labor Shares Resources on Coronavirus
The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration shared a set of resources and answers to frequently asked questions regarding Coronavirus on the WorkforceGPS website. Some of the information covers grant management, unemployment insurance, as well as a list of other resources to help state and local workforce leaders and stakeholders respond to the economic impact of Coronavirus.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy