HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut will allocate $10 million in COVID-19 relief funds to pay for math tutoring as part of an effort to catch students up following the pandemic.

The state’s testing research shows that students in grades six through eight are behind as much as five to eight months in English. That gap is even wider in math.

The intensive mathematics tutoring program hopes to close that.

“This program is targeting students with disabilities, as well as kids that were chronically absent during the pandemic, as well as English language learners,” said Mary Kay Rendock, who teaches in Bloomfield.

The program may help students catch up on a year or two of math — in addition to what they learn during the year — according to research.

“If you have students that are struggling in a classroom with 20 to 25 students, it doesn’t help to just stay there and not have the supports that they need to catch up,” said Ajit Gopalakrishnan, the chief performance officer for the Connecticut Department of Education.

The program has students who are behind in math break off into small groups. The groups will then stay in the classroom and learn the same material as their classmates. The idea is to make it a seamless part of the day.

The state is asking tutoring companies to fill out a survey to see if they qualify to work with the schools. It will be up to those schools to integrate the tutors into the classroom.

“Especially with middle-school mathematics, and intensive intervention like this, can help kids really catch up and catch up faster than they would without it,” Gopalkrishnan said.

The Connecticut Department of Education hopes to implement the program next academic year.