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Waterloo Schools will offer in-person summer school to bridge pandemic education gaps

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Summer school will be in-person in Waterloo public schools. The district says the face-to-face option will be beneficial for students who are falling behind in learning.

Education gaps have been present all school year due to the pandemic. Children are still falling behind academically from switching to virtual learning last year, and summer school is a way for them to get back on track.

“Having so much virtual was just really hard," Associate Superintendent for Educational Services Dr. Stephanie Mohorne said.

Virtual learning was not working for many students in the Waterloo Community School District, especially for the younger grade levels. For that reason, the district decided to only offer in-person summer school for elementary and middle school students.

“Our data had shown that there is a gap and so it’s our job to really figure out things we can do to make up that gap and give our kids the most opportunities we can to do that," Dr. Mohorne said.

Summer learning at Waterloo schools will take place in 10 of the district buildings. Six elementary schools, three high schools, and one middle school will be used over the summer months.

Activities will be incorporated into the programs to include some summer fun students may have missed out on last year.

Dr. Mohorne says summer school is an opportunity for those falling behind, but also for students wanting to get ahead.

“We’re not just focusing on one group of students, we’re focusing on students wherever they are at," she said.

Summer school is mandatory for some students who might need extra help more than others. However, school officials want people to know that it isn't a punishment.

“It’s really to help our kids to make sure they get access and get that education that they missed over the pandemic," Dr. Mohorne said.

Last summer there was a very low number of students who took summer classes because many were nervous to be in-person, or just simply didn't want to do virtual learning. Dr. Mohorne expects anywhere from 1,500-2,000 students to be a part of the summer programs this year.

Students are now able to sign up for summer school and the other programs being offered. The deadline to sign up is May 28th, but the district will work to get people signed up, even after that day.

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Diego Hernandez

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