Schools battle COVID stress with new 'expanded learning' program

The Anaheim Elementary School District has begun a new program this month that hopes to reduce students' stress from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The "Expanded Learning Opportunities Program" was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in March bringing nearly $2 billion to K-6 students, to provide them with hands-on learning experiences. 

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"There’s no doubt that online learning during lockdown and the continued pandemic worries have created a need to accelerate learning like never before for our students and their families," AESD Superintendent Dr. Christopher Downing said in a statement. "This initiative hopes to support our young people achieve their full academic potential, while fostering their social, emotional and physical wellness."

The program extends the school day to nine hours, but introduces multiple new activities and resources for students, like mentors and counselors, musical and instrumental programs, sports and other physical activities, and more.

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FOX 11's Sandra Endo spent Tuesday morning at Orange Grove Elementary, and spoke to students who were learning cooking skills by making breakfast burritos. One student, who says they cook at home, said they enjoy it because they get, "to learn new things," and that these activities are an improvement over remote learning. 

The "Expanded Learning Opportunities Program" is already underway in some AESD schools and will start this month in all of the districts's 24 campuses.

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