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School District of Beloit takes steps to catch students up after year of pandemic learning

Beloit Memorial High school

BELOIT (WKOW) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has made it hard for students to stay on track in school. Families have had to juggle virtual and hybrid learning since March of 2020.

Some districts took extra steps to make sure their students wouldn't fall behind, and the School District of Beloit hopes their classroom catchup catapults their kids into a successful school year.

"I have four kids in the school district. I have one in high school. I have one in middle school and then two in grammar", said Ella Covington, a School District of Beloit parent.

The 2020-21 school year was difficult for many Beloit parents, like Ella Covington, who had to become teachers for their own children.

"That was pretty tough on my behalf. For one, using the iPad, for two, get the kids to be at home and be on the internet and learn. That was very tough for them. My older one. He's been pretty good with the online and knew how to work everything," said Covington.

We've had some students who absolutely thrived in the online learning environment and for others, they struggled," said Dan Keyser, Superintendent for School District of Beloit.

It's difficult to know the exact impact of the pandemic on learning in the Beloit School District because the typical grading system was replaced with a simple pass or fail.

"We had our summer school, which we were very proud that many of our families took advantage of because it was five days a week in person," said Keyser.

"My oldest went to summer school, the one that was in high school, he did do the summer school program," said Covington.

That's why the district offered comprehensive summer school and tutoring to help students stay on track for this fall.

"Wherever there's a need, Beloit reaches out and figures out a way to remove that barrier for learning," said Keyser.

A big concern for Beloit is coming back to school after being apart for so long.

"It's been 18 months since we've been able to all come back together. You're going to be unsteady and so it's calming the anxiety and getting us back into a routine," superintendent Keyser acknowledged.

"My kids were definitely gonna have maybe something going into because it's been a long time since they've been in there," said Covington.

The school district anticipates many of its students will have some uneasiness about returning to classrooms--especially with COVID-19 cases on the rise, so it's put help in a familiar place.

"Our mental health and wellness resources are on our website, which is mobile friendly….so that no matter how families want to reach out to us, there's going to be a person on the other end. We now have a counselor, a social worker, and school psychologists in every one of our buildings," said Keyser.

"Oh, that's good. If they're gonna have the resources available going into the school, I'm so happy for that," said Covington.

"I'm most proud of being in a rich, diverse urban district like Beloit and I am so thankful that we are able to start the school year by bringing everyone back," said Keyser.

The School District of Beloit officials said that when school starts on September first -- all grades, 4k through 12th grade, will be required to wear masks. That includes students, staff, and any visitors. Masks will also be required on school buses.

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