More Utah summer school options to help offset pandemic learning loss

classroom of a daycare center without children and teacher

(Lopolo, Shutterstock)



SALT LAKE CITY — The state of Utah is using money from the federal government to keep school going this summer.

Educators say the funding will allow many school districts and community-based organizations to provide summer opportunities for any students who have been impacted by the pandemic.

"(We're) really focusing on unfinished learning," said Kamille Sheikh, an education specialist with the Utah State Board of Education. "What can we do to support students, knowing it was a stressful year."

Sheikh said school districts, charter schools and community groups like the YWCA and Boys and Girls Club can offer academic classes with this funding.

The funding comes from two different bills passed by Congress in the last few months: the federal coronavirus relief bill and the American Relief Act.

She said parents might get an email or a note home from the principal about offering a program or classes this summer within the district or at the neighborhood school. Registration is this month because classes start in early June in some school districts.

They recognize this pandemic year, many kids fell behind and could use these classes to catch up.

"(We) really try to identify, what are the needs of your students and families? We know there is unfinished learning. That's on top of what we already see with summer slide," she said.

Sheikh said the classes and programs can also be done at the same place as the free summer meals, or those meals can be offered at one of these learning sites to reach the kids at the same time. Her office suggests groups start with the utahafterschool.org.

"Just really emphasizing the great opportunity we have to finish the learning that's happened."

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Mary Richards

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