GUILFORD COUNTY — The need to make up for lost learning opportunities because of the coronavirus pandemic has sparked an unprecedented increase in interest for summer school in Guilford County Schools.

Nearly 16,000 students have signed up for summer school classes, which start June 14, Superintendent Sharon Contreras said. That’s more than 13 times the enrollment of 1,200 during the summer of 2019, the last summer school before the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

Guilford County Schools administrators and educators are gearing up. Funding from COVID-19 relief bills will help foot the bill for additional expenses.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Contreras has raised the issue of learning loss, the erosion in students’ academic performance because of the disruption and time away from the classroom setting.

During a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, Contreras said she doesn’t expect students to recover all the learning loss from the pandemic during the summer. But she hopes that students can build on the progress made during the spring after all kindergarten through 12th-grade classrooms were reopened.

“Schools are getting back to normal slowly but surely,” the superintendent said. “Students are in a much better place.”

When the pandemic first took hold locally, Guilford County Schools immediately switched to all-remote learning. Students were brought back to classes in stages, first with elementary school students in the fall of 2020.

Middle and high school students returned to classrooms earlier this year.

Parents retain the option to have their child remain in all-remote learning.

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