Polk schools turning to online tutoring program to close COVID losses

The Polk County School District hopes to reduce COVID learning gaps through a $4.75 million contract with Varsity Tutors for online tutoring and lessons, which will have the potential to reach nearly 40,000 students districtwide.

Superintendent Frederick Heid told the School Board at its regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 13 that Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding, provided to the district during the pandemic, will be used to pay for the contract. The plan is expected to help Polk’s teachers and families address learning losses with the digital-based intervention tool.   

“It does target almost 40,000 students, and that’s why the cost,” Heid said. “If utilization does not match the total number within the prescribed contract, we don’t pay that. It will be based off the learner usage.”  

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