Visit Comes after Senator Hassan Pushed to Ensure that Somersworth Could Use Federal Relief Dollars for Project
Senator Hassan speaks with Somersworth School District officials about the construction of the middle school school’s HVAC system.
SOMERSWORTH – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan today visited Somersworth Middle School to see the progress on the construction of the school’s new HVAC system. The project is funded by federal COVID-19 relief that Senator Hassan helped passed into law, and comes after Senator Hassan successfully called on the U.S. Department of Education to clarify guidance so that New Hampshire schools could move forward with air quality improvement projects. Following Senator Hassan’s advocacy, the U.S. Department of Education put further guidance out today to ensure that more schools can use relief funding to improve indoor air quality in their classrooms.
“The COVID-19 relief funding that I helped secure for New Hampshire schools was in part meant to ensure that our students and teachers could return to the classroom safely. That is why I was concerned to hear that Somersworth School District ran into trouble using this federal funding to improve their air ventilation system, which is an important part of efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Senator Hassan said. “I was glad to work with Somersworth School District and state and federal partners to resolve this issue so that they could use this funding, and it was great to see the progress that the district has already made in installing their new air ventilation system.”
“Our new HVAC system will help ensure that we are better protected against the spread of COVID-19 and it was a pleasure to show Senator Hassan the progress we’ve made already. We are grateful to Senator Hassan for listening to our concerns and taking action so that New Hampshire school districts could receive desperately needed federal funding,” said Lori Lane, Superintendent at Somersworth School District.
New Hampshire’s Department of Education initially did not grant approval for Somersworth School District to use federal dollars to install a much-needed HVAC system to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, due to a lack of federal guidance on Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) II Fund projects. After hearing about this issue, Senator Hassan pushed the U.S. Department of Education to provide additional clarification that made it clear that schools could use federal ESSER II Funds for projects including installing HVAC systems and outlined regulatory requirements for approving projects.