ORLANDO, Fla. - Summer schools are packed with kids this year. Orange County is breaking an attendance record.
Officials told FOX 35 News that while many students went to school online, it was not effective, and now thousands of students need to catch up academically, socially, and emotionally.
Compared to past years, summer school enrollment in Orange County is up around 60%. Whether it’s because of low grades or parents insisting their student needs more in-person instruction, Orange County classrooms are filling up for summer.
"More than ever we had in any year prior, which again speaks to the difficulties that our students face learning from home," said Orange County Deputy Superintendent Dr. Maria Vazquez.
Vazquez said out of the more than 200,000 students in Orange County, educators identified 60,000 struggling students in need of summer school. Only 48,000 of them are currently enrolled, meaning about 12,000 opted out.
"Our schools are still reaching out to families encouraging them to attend our summer acceleration program," Vazquez said.
She said while the district did the best they could during the pandemic to develop virtual learning options, the majority of students struggled with distance education. The Biden administration is requiring states to devote billions of dollars to summer programs to get students up to speed.
District leaders said they do not believe graduation rates will fall, citing Florida’s decision to waive the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) exam as a requirement to graduate.
In the past, Orange County summer school was four days a week and only offered in the month of June. This year, it has been expanded to five days a week and now includes July.
Officials said there is still time to enroll in the second part of summer.
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