The guidance reaffirms the federal government's focus on cybersecurity.
The US Department of Education has released new guidance related to use cases for federal stimulus funds. The department released an FAQ to respond to questions they are frequently receiving. Included in this document was a critical section for EdTech.
May ESSER and GEER funds be used to improve cybersecurity?
Yes. If a school, LEA, or State is improving cybersecurity to better meet educational and other needs of students related to preventing, preparing for, or responding to COVID-19, it may use ESSER or GEER funds. For example, if an LEA needs to increase its use of technology, such as for potential temporary shifts to hybrid learning if COVID-19 cases arise, expanded cybersecurity needs to facilitate that activity may also be addressed using ESSER or GEER funds.
This confirmation underscores the federal government's renewed focus on cybersecurity. President Biden recently announced an Executive Order detailing new security standards and the administration has normalized the categorization of broadband as critical infrastructure. This guidance from the US Department of Education recognizes the growing importance of cybersecurity in schools. It also demonstrates the federal government understands that many school districts do not have the resources (money, time, expertise) to implement an effective cybersecurity plan. The billions of aid provided in three stimuli in response to the pandemic provide the perfect opportunity to secure networks, devices, and sensitive data that enable schools to function.
Download the full guidance from the US Department of Education below.