Sen. Maggie Hassan visits Somersworth Middle School’s HVAC project
SOMERSWORTH — U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan recently visited Somersworth Middle School to see the progress of construction on the school’s new HVAC system. The project is funded by federal COVID-19 relief efforts that helped Hassan pass a law, and comes after Hassan successfully appealed to the U.S. Department of Education to clarify guidelines so New Hampshire schools can move forward. to undertake projects to improve air quality. Following Senator Hassan’s plea, the U.S. Department of Education has released further guidelines to ensure more schools can use aid funding to improve indoor air quality in their classrooms.
“The COVID-19 relief funding I’ve helped secure for schools in New Hampshire was, in part, to help ensure our students and educators could safely return to the classroom. That’s why I was concerned to learn that the Somersworth School District was in trouble by using this federal funding to improve their air ventilation system, which is an important part of the effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Hassan. “I was happy to work with Somersworth School District and state and federal partners to resolve this issue so they could use this funding, and it was great to see the progress the district has already made in installing of their new air ventilation system.”
“Our new HVAC system will ensure we are better protected against the spread of COVID-19 and it was a pleasure to show Senator Hassan the progress we have already made. We are grateful to Senator Hassan for listening to our concerns and taking action so that New Hampshire’s school districts could receive much-needed federal funding,” said Lori Lane, Superintendent of the Somersworth School District.
The New Hampshire Department of Education initially did not authorize the Somersworth School District to use federal dollars to install a much-needed HVAC system to reduce the spread of COVID-19, due to a lack of federal guidelines for emergency response in the United States. primary and secondary schools (ESSER) II Fund projects. After hearing about the matter, Hassan urged the U.S. Department of Education to provide additional clarification, making it clear that schools could use federal ESSER II funds for projects, including installing HVAC systems, and outlined the legal requirements for approving projects.