Sen. Murphy, local leaders hold roundtable on summer enrichment programs in Waterbury


WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)– One year and counting, that’s how long remote learning has been going on due to the pandemic. But how’s it affecting students?

You can talk to any parent and they’ll tell you, remote learning is challenging for children. That’s why Senator Chris Murphy is pushing for federal funding for a summer enrichment program. It’s designed to help students reset socially and emotionally.

While some students continue in-person learning across the state, the fear of COVID-19 has caused others to opt for remote learning. The option allows for plenty of screen time, but not enough socialization, which educators say is needed.

Senator Murphy, along with state and local leaders, addressed the issue during a roundtable discussion in Waterbury. President Biden’s American enriched program provides a billion for Connecticut.

“Part of that money has to be spent on summer programming, making sure that every kid in the state has an opportunity to a really great summer camp, rec program, summer school program,” said Murphy.

The goal is to reduce or eliminate the cost of attending a summer program. Members of the roundtable are still to determine how those programs will look, but we do know the YMCA is on aboard. The plan is to serve four to 500 students.

“We’re doing intense training with the staff around social and emotional skills to be able to interact with the children and to be able to support them. And we’re also looking at ways to integrate learning throughout the day knowing that there’s an academic loss as well,” said Jim O’Rourke,CEO Greater Waterbury YMCA.

“As a parent, I’m really passionate about what happens to the kids during the summer. And this summer especially, kids need a really positive, emotionally supportive experience,” said Murphy.

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