Roughly 12,000 students have attended the summer program hosted by Guilford County Schools in North Carolina so far, about 10 times as many as in previous, nonpandemic years. Broward County, Fla., will have about 45,000 students, up from about 8,000 to 10,000.
But there are challenges: A Missouri district had to move two of its programs online after more than half of its students tested positive or had to quarantine. And old buildings aren’t always equipped for summer heat: Some schools in New Jersey do not have air-conditioners, and students are sweltering behind masks.
Many districts have had trouble finding enough teachers for summer school, as worn-out educators understandably want a break from a stressful year.
Fairfax, Va., announced it would have to delay a summer program for about 1,200 students with disabilities for about a month as the district looked for more educators, The Washington Post reported. Nearby Arlington also reduced its summer program to 3,000 from 5,000 students because of staff shortages.
Chicago, which is hoping to serve 50,000 more students than usual, still has 67 teacher vacancies and is offering teachers who agree to work in the understaffed programs an extra $200 in pay per week.
And while summer school enrollment is up about 30 percent in Watertown-Mayer Public Schools, in Minnesota, the district has struggled to find enough adults to staff the program. In mid-June, it was considering hiring paraprofessionals from outside the district or even high school students to fill the spots.