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Manzanola uses ESSER funds for shelter

Manzanola uses ESSER funds for shelter

Outdoor shelter in Manzanola School District

Spacing students far enough apart safely was a big concern in Manzanola School District 3J, a rural district on Colorado’s southeastern plains where temperatures can stay in the upper 90s and even above 100 well into October. The state had imposed distancing requirements to limit the spread of the virus, which proved difficult for schools that remained in session.

Manzanola Superintendent Nancy Westfall and her staff decided that students at her school needed to more opportunities to be outside during the school day, which would provide relief from the older buildings with poor circulation and air filtration and still maintain distancing. They seized on the idea to build a sturdy, 16-by-30-foot permanent shelter next to the playground with tables that could be easily cleaned.

Manzanola was awarded a total of $63,304 from ESSER I and used $33,556 to build the structure with the remainder going toward expenses around remote learning, including stipends for teachers to help defray costs for technology and supplies. 

The shelter would also benefit the community by providing a shady spot where people could also distance themselves during public events such as field day.

“We didn’t have any shade on the playground, which is for the whole K through 12,” Westfall explained. “So, the high temps limited the amount of time anyone could tolerate being outside. This shelter was a game-changer, and it’s something we’re able to use forever for both students and the community.”