Using COVID Relief to Support Summer Learning: A 7-State Snapshot

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As the 2021-2022 school year comes to a close, state education leaders want to ensure students can continue learning, through a variety of camps and other enrichment opportunities, when school is out of session over the summer. States are working with school districts, community organizations, libraries and other entities to expand existing programs and create new ones. Many states are funding these programs with their state share of federal COVID relief grants, which totaled about $200 billion.  

The Council of Chief State School Officers has supported states as they navigate ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacts on schools and as they work to accelerate learning and ensure all students have an equitable educational opportunity. (See also how states have used federal COVID aid to support teachers and expand the use of high-quality curriculum, among a variety of ongoing projects, and see more about the State Summer Learning Network, a partnership between CCSSO and the National Summer Learning Alliance to support equitable summer learning opportunities.)

Among the state summer learning efforts using federal COVID relief grants are:

Colorado: The state Department of Education will award up to $10 million to school districts, libraries, community-based organizations and other entities to provide after-school and summer programs to help students overcome academic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Connecticut: Leaders will allocate $8 million in federal relief to continue CT’s Summer Enrichment Program in 2022. The program provides grants for innovation or expansion of summer enrichment programs at camps, child care centers and other venues. Research found that the program served more than 108,000 students in 235 programs in 2021, and more than half of participating students received a fee waiver or scholarship.

New Hampshire: The state will again launch its ReKINDling Curiosity initiative, which uses federal COVID aid to help families pay for summer camp: up to $650 for students with disabilities, and up to $500 for other students, depending on family income.

North Dakota: Funding was allocated to a variety of programs across the state, with recipients focusing on areas as diverse as intensive supports for students with dyslexia to computer coding to fine arts to outdoor activities for visually impaired middle school students. In all, the state allocated $200,000 to 11 programs.

Ohio: Grants totaling $89 million have been awarded to 161 organizations – including community centers, institutions of higher education, faith-based organizations, arts centers, neighborhood outreach centers and youth activity centers – to create or expand summer and after-school learning programs.

South Carolina: The state allocated $12 million to a partnership with the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance to expand summer and after-school programs in districts and community organizations, with the first year expected to serve over 4,000 students through 45 organizations.

South Dakota: Middle school students will have the opportunity to participate in career exploration camps hosted at three South Dakota universities, funded by federal COVID aid.

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