Direct Funding Guidance


Thank you for your hard work in maintaining student and staff safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. To support the prevention, mitigation, and response of COVID-19 through screening and testing of students and staff, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) has allocated federal funding to your school or school district.

Reimbursement Reporting for SY22-23 is OPEN. Please review the guidance carefully. This webpage will be reviewed and updated.

Read About Important Changes to this Program

Introduction

Last Updated: September 1, 2022

Thank you for your hard work in maintaining student and staff safety during School Year 2021-2022. We understand the additional work and hours you have dedicated to the development of safe and healthy environments for New Mexico students. In an effort to return some of those hours, we have created the following guidance covering the reporting and reimbursement process of the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) allocated federal funding.

This will be a living document and will be updated as changes occur during the school year. Please refer to this website to ensure you have the most up-to-date information. We also recommend ensuring that you are on our mailing list to receive updates to this guide.

For any questions, please reach out to our team at reports@nmschoolscovidtesting.com or join us for our Office Hours, held three times a week at 3:30 p.m. (register here: https://calendly.com/new-mexico-schools-covid-19-testing-program).

The federal grant that enables the NM DOH to provide this level of support is the 2019 Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Disease (ELC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The ELC grant - Reopening of Schools (NU50CK000548-02-06) is part of a financial assistance award totaling $63 million dollars for New Mexico schools and federal funds made available from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, P.L. 117- 2 The NM DOH is distributing over eight five percent of this award to support school access to COVID-19 testing providers and services, in addition to direct funding. The NM DOH and the NM PED are partnering in this effort.

Important Dates

Last Updated: September 1, 2022

  • August 31,2022: Award Letter signature or extension request due.
  • September 1, 2022: Direct Funding Expense Reporting Portal opens.
  • January 1, 2023: Schools and districts must report use of 75% of allocation or submit preapproval for a spending plan.
  • May 12, 2023: Last day to report expenses related to SY 22-23.
  • June 30, 2023: Final check sent.

Conditions for Funding Acceptance

Last Updated: September 1, 2022

In July and August 2022, schools and districts that registered for the program received an award letter detailing the total funding allocated to them. We do not accept school or school district’s reports or requests for reimbursement without signature of this award letter.

As a reminder, the following conditions were included in the SY22-23 award letter. For any questions, please reach out to our team at info@nmschoolscovidtesting.com

  1. School District/School will document and maintain accurate records of COVID-19 testing and screening program expenditures.
  2. School District/School will expend all of the funding received through this program on allowable expenses as by June 30, 2023.
  3. School District/School will submit reports using the reporting forms and instructions provided, including copy of receipts or invoices for expenditures.
  4. School District/School will notify the New Mexico Department of Health via info@nmschoolscovidtesting.com should they no longer wish to continue accepting award funding or are unable to spend the funds that have been disbursed to them.

How to Submit a Direct Funding Expense Report

Last Updated: September 1, 2022

Schools and districts submit reporting on their expenses and requests for reimbursements through a dedicated portal on the New Mexico Schools COVID-19 Testing Program website.

Schools and districts who have returned a signed award letter receive a login to the Reporting Portal. As of September 2022, each school and district has one login that is tied to one email address. We do not send messages through this portal; the email address is required by the system and only helpful in the case of password resets (we can also reset passwords for you). Schools and districts that participated during the 2021-2022 school year may use the same login credentials used last year.

If you have forgotten or need help retrieving your login information, please submit a Password Assistance Request form.

There are three parts to submitting a report and/or requesting reimbursement:

Direct Funding Expense Report Review Process

Last Updated: October 24, 2022

After you submit your verification form, we are notified that you are ready for us to review your report. Here are some of the items that we check:

  • All expenses listed in the report are allowable – If we are unsure, we will bring the expense to the NMDOH/NMPED review committee and/or the CDC for further discussion.
  • The totals listed in the Detailed Expense Reporting Template (or, if you are a public school district/charter, your Summary Report) match the totals on receipts.
  • Each expense listed has the appropriate backup.
  • Each expense has not been previously submitted.
  • Each expense is related to SY 22-23.

If we have questions about your documentation or an expense, we will reach out to the contact submitted on the verification form. We ask that you respond in a timely manner so that we can continue processing your report.

Our timeline is to process the report within 15 business days, unless we need additional time to communicate with your school district/school. Please do not submit a new reimbursement while an existing reimbursement is being processed.

If approved, we notify you and send a check with the approved amount to the address provided.

In order to provide the utmost transparency in the process, we have introduced an appeal option if you disagree with the result of your request. The NMDOH/NMPED review committee will discuss the appeal and make an additional determination.

To request an appeal, respond to this email. Include in your response the reason for your appeal and the specific expenses that it pertains to. This appeal must be submitted within three business days of the initial closure of the report.

Supplemental Funds and Preapproval

Last Updated: September 1, 2022

This year, schools and districts have two new opportunities to receive additional funding or pre-purchase reimbursement approval.

  1. Schools and districts may request funds above their initial allocated amount. Supplemental funding will be allocated on a “first come, first serve,” basis, according to funds available.
  2. Schools and districts will be able to request preapproval for use of funds. This may be necessary if a school or district would like to first confirm they will be reimbursed for a large expense before moving forward.

To make your request, please submit a Supplemental Funding and Expense Preapproval Form to be reviewed by the NMDOH/NMPED review committee. We may take up to one month to approve your request. Requests will be approved according to:

  • The total amount of funds available in this grant
  • The appropriateness of the described expenses
  • The level of resources available regionally
  • The expediency that the school/district could expend the funds

Allowable Expenses Reference Guide

Last Updated: September 1, 2022

The following list has been assembled to support schools and districts as they prepare to submit items for reimbursement through the ELC Reopening of Schools grant (New Mexico Schools COVID-19 Testing Program).

Please note that, regardless of what is listed below, schools and school districts must justify the intent and context of the expense and how it relates to COVID-19 prevention, mitigation, and response.

We reserve the right to deny requests for reimbursement, even if expenses are listed in the table below, if they do not meet the requirements from the NMDOH or the CDC. Please contact us or submit a Preapproval Request if you are unsure whether an expense is reimbursable.

Expense DetailExpense CategoryExamples
Classroom/Building Improvements (must provide in-depth justification; preapproval recommended)Capital Improvements

HEPA air purifiers

Isolation RoomCapital Improvements

Materials to create isolation rooms.

Outdoor Learning Environments (must provide in-depth justification) Other expenses related to COVID-19 prevention, mitigation, and responseCapital Improvements

Umbrellas and Canopies for outside learning, lunch tables

Biohazardous Waste ManagementServices
Equipment, Waste Management Services, Licensing Fee Services

HEPA air purifiers, Items required for testing sites, Covid-19 testing disposal services, CLIA Certificate of Waiver, Pulse Oximeter Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitors, thermometers

Community Outreach and Communication  Services

Paper, translation services, printing services, Covid-19 testing site signs

Testing vendorsServices
Behavioral health training for staff to support students with COVID-19-related traumaServices

Contact info@nmschoolscovidtesting.com with specific training requests.

Community Outreach and Communication materialsSupplies

Paper

Equipment for testing stations/testersSupplies

Biohazardous waste bags, Technology, Storage for testing-related data (consent forms, etc.), Signage

Test kitsSupplies

Home tests for distribution, and on-site tests.

Proportion of salary and benefits for staff that perform some duties related to COVID-19 prevention, mitigation, and response.Staff

Health service staff duties related to covid-19 prevention, mitigation, and response. Covid-19 response team, meetings before or after school hours. Time needed for staff/faculty to document things like covid results, and store items like covid tests.

Stipends and appropriate percentage of benefits for staff that performed additional duties related to COVID-19 prevention, mitigation and response.Staff

Staff that spent extra hours or went above and beyond their typical duties to coordinate COVID-19 programs, perform tests, participate in outreach, etc.

Salary and benefits for staff that only perform duties related to COVID-19 prevention, mitigation, and response.Staff

Nurse, COVID-19 Coordinator, janitorial staff.

Expense DetailExpense CategoryExamples

Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: September 1, 2022

How do I reset my login password?

If you have forgotten or need help retrieving your login information, please email our team to have these reset at info@nmschoolscovidtesting.com. In your email, confirm your name, your school or district, and the main email of the account.

How do I submit expenses made between May 12, 2023 and June 30, 2023?

We recognize that the earlier reporting deadline may present difficulties for those that wrap up financial reporting on June 30, 2023. If you have a concern, please reach out to us sooner rather than later so that we can accommodate you. We will be unable to process anything after June 30, 2023, the end of the CDC grant period.

 I am new to my position. Where do I start?

We recommend reading this guidance report cover to cover! If you still have questions, register for Office Hours at www.nmschoolscovidtesting.com.

How do I submit expenses related to SY 21-22 if I missed the deadline?

Unfortunately, we have closed the opportunity for reimbursement for expenses related to SY21-22. Funding has been extended for the next school year. You may submit requests for reimbursement for expenses related to SY22-23 when the portal reopens in September.

How has the reimbursement process change in SY22-23?

The process for requesting reimbursement will largely remain the same. You will be required to submit your backup to your unique shared drive and submit a final verification form. However, there will be some small changes in the timeline and allowable expenses, including the following:

  • You will be required to spend (or have a plan for spending) 75% of your allocation by January 1, 2023.
  • Testing vendors and test kits are now approved expenses.
  • There will be an opportunity to request additional funding through the website.
  • Our final deadline for requests for reimbursement will be May 12, 2023.

The most up-to-date guidance will always be on this website. When you sign the award letter, you agree to follow whatever is posted here.

My school did not opt in to the program last year, but would like to do so now. What should we do?

Please email info@nmschoolscovidtesting.com if you would like to opt-in. If resources are available, we may still be able to allocate funds to your school.

When can I start using money from this grant?

Please make sure you are following your school or district's own internal budgetary process. We will accept requests for reimbursements made any time after the signature of the award letter.

Our school received an advance payment but did not use it. How do we proceed?

Please make sure you have a plan for spending and reporting any funds you have received during SY22-23. We reserve the right to claw back funds that were not spent according to the grant requirements.

Our school/district spent all of the money allocated to us. Can we get more?

We will open a form that will allow you to request additional funds. Requests will be prioritized according to the amount allocated to the school/district, the use of the funds, the availability of local resources, and the speed with which the school/district may spend funds.

How do I make sure our requests for reimbursement will be approved?

Please submit a Supplemental Funding and Expense Preapproval Form if you are unsure whether your expense will be approved.