NCEA Statement on COVID Relief Bill Package

NCEA calls on state governors and educational leaders to work on behalf of all children.

Arlington, VA – The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) expresses its gratitude to lawmakers for a bipartisan solution, in the form of the COVID Relief Bill, to provide relief to a nation still navigating in the midst of the uncertainty and trials of the pandemic. We continue to hold our federal, state and local leaders in prayer as they persist in taking up the undoubtedly difficult challenge of building a just society in times like these.

Included in the relief bill signed into law is approximately $2.75 billion reserved for non-public school students, set to be distributed through state educational agencies who will administer disbursement of those funds and invite private schools to apply. Across the nation, Catholic schools moved decisively to offer in-person and hybrid instruction to students. In the fall, more than 80 percent of the 6,000 Catholic schools across the nation were offering some form of in-person instruction - and in many cases, they were the first schools to open their doors and provide a safe and stable learning environment for all children. Tighter budgets became even more constrained by the necessary expenses for personal practice equipment and safety measures, but the focus in Catholic schools has been and will be to put students first.

The cost borne by Catholic schools and the communities they serve has been significant. With enrollment in Catholic schools dropping more than 6 percent - the largest in a generation - many school leaders have been asked to do more with less in a time when all students and families have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

Therefore, we call on state governors and state educational leaders to continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with all school leaders for the benefit of every single child and help get those resources allocated by the relief bill on the ground.

This includes:

  • Applying for funds on behalf of non-public schools in their states to the fullest possible
  • Making readily available guidelines for non-public schools to apply for funds received from the US Department of Education, and processing applications for funds within equitable and timely protocols
  • Streamlining the reimbursement processes for allowable expenditures under the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) that schools have incurred since the pandemic began, and ensuring that disbursement of funds is timely and accurate

Courageous, persistent, and selfless leaders in Catholic schools helped pave a way for us as a nation to turn the corner. We will continue to work and advocate for their vision and dedication to all students so that it may not be in vain.

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In service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, NCEA strengthens Catholic school communities by providing professional development, formation, leadership and advocacy