MONTPELIER – At Friday’s COVID-19 briefing, Governor Phil Scott and Senator Bernie Sanders announced a plan to expand summer programming for K-12 students in Vermont.
Scott said it’s important for Vermont children to return to the educational and social experiences they’ve sorely missed during the pandemic, and funding from the American Rescue Plan will make that possible.
“This has been a tough year for our kids,” Scott said. “Less in person learning. The loss of connection with friends and classmates… With the end of the pandemic in sight, we want to do whatever we can to give our kids a great summer. To replace some of what they’ve lost.”
New grant opportunities made possible by the American Rescue Plan will allow for summer camps and other youth programs to run longer, while adding additional slots so more students can join. Senator Sanders helped secure the federal funding, and emphasized how important it is that all Vermont families are able to access these programs.
“We have got to make these programs affordable,” Sanders said. “Every family in the State of Vermont regardless of their income should know that come this summer, there are going to be really great programs available for their kids.”
“More than ever, we need Summer 2021 to be one of connection, engagement, and learning – of all types – for our children and youth,” said Holly Morehouse, executive director of Vermont Afterschool. “This summer should be about fun times with friends, program staff, and mentors; opportunities for creative enrichment and expression; healthy meals; daily physical activity; outdoor adventures; career exploration and job opportunities for older youth; and projects that allow young people to explore and learn.”
Vermont Afterschool will host an interactive website that families and providers can use to identify available programs in each area of the state to find the right match for their children. The Vermont Afterschool website launched today and can be accessed by clicking here.
In the meantime, Governor Scott is also urging schools to try and return to full in-person instruction by the end of April. He was asked whether its still a realistic possibility.
“I’d ask them to reflect on what’s safe, listen to the health experts in Dr. Levine and Dr. Kelso and see if there’s a way to get kids back into school, even for a short period of time like a month or two,” Scott said. “It would make all of the difference in the world to kids.”