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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Ohio lawmakers looking at how to help kids who lost academic ground during the pandemic

[Veja / Shutterstock]
Sad tired boy sitting at table with books and laptop computer at home.

Ohio’s education leaders say they know some kids lost ground when most of the state's schools went to remote learning in the early days of the pandemic.

And since then, a lot of effort has gone into making sure schools can keep kids in the classroom. Some districts have installed new ventilation systems while others have rearranged learning spaces to make them more COVID safe.

Now, the attention is going into how to help K-12 children recoup some of the learning they’ve missed during the pandemic.

Senate Education Committee chair Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) says federal dollars have been given to schools to help support remedial learning for kids who lost ground during remote and interrupted classes.

And he says lawmakers are coming up with a plan to prepare college students majoring in education to help tutor kids.

“So, we can pay these students to come in maybe an hour a day for five days a week or however often we can get them in there to sit down with small groups of students to help tutor them to get them caught back up," Brenner said.

Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) [Jo Ingles / Statehouse News Bureau]

Chronic absenteeism has been a problem in some districts, Brenner said. He pointed to an urban Ohio district where 74% of students had 18 days or more of unexcused absences during the pandemic.

The Ohio Department of Education says students scored about eight points lower in state language arts tests last year and 15 points lower in math.

Among the lowest scores in the state were Youngstown City Schools with 2.9% in fifth grade math assessments and East Cleveland City Schools with 1.8%.

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