Connecticut using federal COVID aid to provide free summer camp

Connecticut will be offering free summer camp for about 24,000 children with the help of $11 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds, and officials hope cities and towns chip in some of their money from federal aid to double or triple the number of summer camp spots for kids, Gov. Ned Lamont said Wednesday.

The Democratic governor joined with members of the state's congressional delegation, education officials and summer camp leaders in a video conference to announce the funding, which will be distributed through a competitive grant program.

Officials said the grant program is aimed at helping children, particularly those in poor and minority communities, who have struggled with remote learning during the pandemic to catch up on learning, and to provide opportunities to socialize with their peers that many have missed over the past year.

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"Kids this summer need an emotional reset," said U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat. "They need an ability to reconnect with their peers, to get into a space emotionally and socially and psychologically that they’re ready to succeed once schools reopen in sort of a quasi-normal setting in the fall."

Lamont said he's hoping municipalities and their school districts providing matching funds with their own federal aid that would double or triple the state's $11 million allotment, which would provide free summer camp for a total of more than 70,000 children in the state.

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