The state is issuing grants for summer programs that serve children across the state of Connecticut. That will allow for free or low-cost options for families at some programs and expanded access for other programs, according to state officials.
On Wednesday, the Connecticut State Department of Education announced that it selected 235 grantees to receive a total of $8,652,870 in funding to serve more than 96,000 students statewide. Funding is supported by the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief funding.
“These grants will go a long way toward achieving our administration’s goal of ensuring that all students in Connecticut have access to summer enrichment experiences that supplement their school activities, especially for those over the last year who have lost out on in-person classroom experience during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement.
Innovation Grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 have been awarded to 25 applicants for summer enrichment programs, including sports and recreation, academic experiences, theater and poetry, mentorship and more, according to the state.
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These programs, according to the state, will be offered for free, or at low cost, to more than 56,000 students across the state.
Expansion Grants ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 were awarded to 210 applicants to expand existing enrichment opportunities and increase access for children who might otherwise not have access to summer camp or programming, according to the state. . These grants are geared towards local organizations to either serve more children, subsidize enrollment costs, or both.
The state said expansion grant recipients will serve more than 40,000 students across the state.
Lamont held a news conference Thursday at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford.
The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp was founded by actor Paul Newman in 1988 and it has has been serving seriously ill children ever since, providing a place for them and their families to enjoy a full camp experience. In February, a fire destroyed several buildings at the camp.
Within days, the camp reached $1 million in donations to be matched by The Travelers and Travelers Championship to rebuild those buildings. Donations continue to come in, officials said.
Ground will be broken after the summer programs this year and the site is expected to be complete within eight months.
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On Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives that the CDC is revising its public health guidance for summer camps to account for vaccinated teens.
"My whole goal is to make sure camps can remain open and that outbreaks don't occur," Walensky said during the hearing, CNBC reports.
Day camps in Connecticut could run last summer, but with restrictions. Overnight camps, however, were closed.