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Students wait in line to enter a New York City public high school in New York. Photo: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The number of students signing up for summer school is expected to be greater than ever before, with the Biden administration requiring states to devote some of the federal pandemic relief packages to these programs, the Associated Press reports.

The big picture: Families are enrolling their children in academic-focused summer programs to catch up and stay on track after the last 18 months.

  • Some educators are concerned with their school districts' abilities to cater to the growing student participation.
  • Though the Department of Education has said it is too early to know how many students will sign up, the number is more than likely to exceed the 3.3 million who went to summer school in 2019, per AP.
  • In Montgomery, Ala., more than 12,000 of the school system’s 28,000 students signed up before the June 1 deadline. Typically about 2,500 attend summer school.

What they're saying: "It’s an understatement to say the needs are greater this year,” said Kalman Hettleman, an education policy analyst in Maryland.

  • “It’s not realistic to think that summer school, no matter how good and intense, will close all the gaps because many of these kids had gaps before the pandemic,” Hettleman added. “But it will help, and it will at least give them a fighting chance if there are intense interventions during the regular school year.”
  • “I learn better in school than online. Being in a classroom where a teacher is present is so much better than waiting hours for an email back from your teacher,” Taylor Dennington told the wire service.

Go deeper

DeSantis threatens to issue "millions" in fines over local vaccine mandates

Ron DeSantis. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that the state will fine cities and counties $5,000 for each employee required to get vaccinated, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Why it matters: It is the Republican governor's latest threat against local officials who have implemented mask or vaccine mandates in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Sep 13, 2021 - Health

Parents search for COVID vaccine trials for their children

A health care worker testing a child for coronavirus in Austin, Texas, in August 2021. Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some parents around the U.S. are on the hunt for COVID-19 vaccine trials instead of waiting for FDA approval to get their young children inoculated, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: As kids return for in-person schooling before those under 12 became eligible for shots, it's created anxiety for parents who worry about the small — but very real — possibility that their kid could become severely ill, experience long-term consequences from or die from COVID.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker