WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The learning loss caused by the pandemic has been well-documented in Connecticut.

The disruption caused some of the lowest math and reading scores in years. Now, Waterbury Public Schools is launching a 24/7 online tutoring service to help students catch up. 

Waterbury schools partnered with Varsity Tutors to provide all students in the district with free, around-the-clock tutoring. The program launched on Tuesday. Students can log on through the school’s online portal.

The goal is twofold: help students catch up on learning, and help teachers with the workload. 

The State Education Department found that Connecticut students’ test scores dropped during the pandemic. The 2022 Nation’s Report Card shows reading scores were at an all-time low and math scores were at the lowest in 30 years. 

Through the program, students and tutors can work on a whiteboard together in real-time. There are also essay review tutors who give feedback within 48 hours. 

We’re partnering with school districts to really help them overcome learning loss, accelerate learning,” said Brian Galvin, the Chief Academic Officer at Varsity Tutors. “Twenty-four-seven tutor availability allows students, whenever that question comes up or whenever they are choosing to do their homework or thinking about it, to reach out and get personalized feedback.” 

Galvin says this should also take some of the pressure off of teachers. 

“Nationally, class sizes rise a little bit, there’s been teacher attrition so there aren’t as many paraprofessionals and aids in classrooms as before,” he said. “Teachers, a lot of times, have fewer planned periods than before, so all that time they would love to have for individual interactions with students just isn’t available for them.”

The Waterbury school district determined that third and sixth graders need the most help. The program offers more intense tutoring for those students. 

Waterbury Superintendent Verna Ruffin is excited about this platform. She said it’s a great comprehensive online learning tool that will give students extra support all year long, at all hours of the day.