November 18, 2021

Schools can use federal COVID aid to solve transportation woes

Schools can use federal COVID-19 relief money on bonuses to retain school bus drivers, reimbursements for costs parents incur in sending their kids to and from school, and other strategies to alleviate transportation problems they may be facing, the U.S. Department of Education says in new guidance.

While COVID aid used in this way would have to go to transportation expenses specifically linked to the pandemic, that could cover helping students participate in high-dosage tutoring, extended learning-time programs, and activities to address the social and emotional impact of the virus, the department said.

“This could include, but is not limited to, transportation services provided directly by the school district; the cost of public transportation services (e.g., bus or subway fare); taxis, rideshare apps, or other driving services; or compensation to parents for providing transportation services for their children,” the department said in its guidance, which the agency released in response to frequently asked questions about the matter.