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March 26, 2021

Schools chief plans to expand summer school to help students rebound from pandemic

Credit: Herald-Mail Media

U.S. Rep. David Trone, D-6th, met Thursday with Washington County Public Schools officials about ongoing efforts to get students the help they need to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most recent federal help for the school system is expected to come from the American Rescue Plan recently passed by Congress.

The relief in the $1.9 trillion package that was pushed by President Joe Biden is expected to secure about $55 million for the school system, federal officials have said. The county government is expected to get about $29 million to help offset dwindling revenue because of the pandemic.

Trone, Superintendent of Schools Boyd Michael and other school officials discussed the district’s needs in a meeting at Washington County Technical High School. Students have been returning to classes and Trone was given a tour of the school.

Michael said the American Rescue Plan funding will be critical for his plan to significantly expand summer school to help kids who need to catch up academically as result of the pandemic. Michael said he wants to expand summer school this summer from 1,000 to 5,000 students.

Michael said he’s aiming to have students in a situation “as if they didn’t miss a thing with COVID.”

“I’m a big supporter of summer school,” said Trone.

Trone‘s staff have said school systems also need the money deal with needs like ventilation system upgrades, buying more personal protective equipment and hiring additional support staff.

Michael told Trone another challenge the school system is facing is that many households in the county do not have reliable internet service. Antietam Cable has helped address the issue, Michael said.

Trone said a proposed infrastructure package being considered in Congress would pay for the expansion of high-speed broadband across the country.

He encouraged school officials to stay in touch about their needs so he can work on better education policies for them.

Michael said the school system is going to need “every penny” it can get out of the American Rescue Plan.