USD 489 discusses using relief funds to address learning loss

Blaise Mesa
Hays Daily News

The Hays Unified School District is using COVID-19 relief money from the federal government to help students catch up on a pandemic-altered year.  

“It’s going to take us a while to regroup from all of this … We had some learning loss,” Superintendent Ron Wilson told the USD 489 board on Monday. “Plans are fully in place. Pieces of them are already rolling.”

Wilson said a “big chunk” of COVID-19 relief funds went toward summer school and providing supplies and transportation to students in summer classes. Relief money will also help hire new staff members, like a nurse, classroom aids, community outreach specialist, possibly social-emotional support staff and a high school student support teacher that will help students recover credits from classes they failed. 

The district will need to reevaluate the success of these positions in a few years because the COVID-19 relief funding won’t last forever, he said, but it does represent an unparalleled opportunity for growth. 

The board also heard from Scott Summers, USD 489 technology director, about the push to replace the district’s network. The new network will have expanded internet access to outdoor venues,

He said an audit of technological equipment found that items are nearing their “sunset.” The new system will also give technical support more insight into issues in the classrooms. Summers said district staff can go back in time to see why some technological issues occurred during certain times of the day. 

He said around 40 access points will be added throughout the district. The total cost of the work is $384,000, but the district will only pay $137,000 because the rest is funded through “e-rate.”