CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – The pandemic took a toll on learning, especially among elementary school students, according to Horry County Schools.
Nationwide studies indicate students are falling behind while learning at a distance during the pandemic.
In Horry County, leaders said educators are noticing the biggest difference in elementary reading and math levels.
“We know there is some learning loss with our students — some academic loss — so we want to make sure we keep our students on track and give them all the opportunities that are available to them,” said Lisa Bourcier, a spokesperson for the district.
Summer learning programs begin about a week after the academic year ends.
Attendance is optional for elementary students invited to the summer learning camp, while attendance is mandatory for middle school students who failed the recent academic year.
About 770 elementary students were invited to summer learning camps and 1,304 middle school students will attend.
The district is also launching a fully-virtual summer school option. More than 330 middle school students enrolled in that option.
Summer learning programs for high school students allow them to recover credits they may have failed during the year or take extra credits during the summer session to keep their course load lighter during the academic year.
Because this academic year began three weeks later than usual, the district faced the unique challenge of consolidating its summer curriculum.
State education leaders are noticing an increase in after school and summer programs across the state to address pandemic-related learning loss.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to have a tremendous impact on students, families, educators, and school communities,” a statement from the South Carolina Department of Education reads. “South Carolina schools and districts have $3.3 billion in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds that is being used to address the academic needs of students including the implementation of evidence-based summer and afterschool programs. It is crucial that the input of families and stakeholders is taken into account as we work in tandem to use these funds to address the needs of our students.”