Summer Camps Up in the Air Due to Pandemic

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The community feedings will continue after the school year ends. Miami-Dade County Public Schools has been partnering with local restaurants and organizations such as the Miami Dolphins and the Related Group to sponsor meal deliveries in the neediest parts of the county. 

But what about summer camps which are typically held at schools and public parks? 

In normal times, the kids we saw at a feeding site in Cutler Ridge would be heading to any number of camps for sports, music, or other activities, but this year, everything’s in flux and parents can’t make decisions. 

“I am worried about it, but there’s really nothing we can do about it, we’re praying that this pandemic ceases so they would be able to get back to the normal routine because summer camps really do help these children,” said Martha Curry, a mother who was picking up food. 

Amy Dirksen Hantman volunteers at feeding sites, handing out food while wondering what her son, a sixth grader, will be able to do this summer. 

“He’s done summer camps in the past, a lot of soccer camps, and they’re not an option right now so we haven’t figured out what we’re gonna do,” Dirksen Hantman said. 

Broward families face the same dilemma, as Broward County Public Schools already announced their buildings will not be used for camps this summer. There will be virtual summer academic programs in Broward. 

In Miami-Dade, the superintendent says they haven’t yet decided whether school-based camps will take place, and the county hasn’t said whether camps at parks will happen. 

Miami-Dade does have a definite plan for summer school. 

“You know in the old days you had summer school to remediate kids who had fallen behind grade level, now it’s all about accelerating kids toward their full potential, and we know that a disruptive fourth quarter followed by the summer slide will impact some of the most fragile kids the most,” said Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. 

MDCPS will hold two virtual summer school sessions. One of them will bring 46,000 low-performing students back to school two weeks early, before regular school starts in August, for catch-up sessions. 

“And this is critically important, it was important for us to find an educational opportunity wrapped around this health crisis and our intent is to stabilize the learning for these students who are at greatest risk of sliding backwards during the summer,” Carvalho said. 

Feeding them knowledge and skill development, while making sure they don’t go hungry. That’s the goal. 

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