MENTOR, Ohio (WJW) – With all of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, Ohio’s students have lost ground in their academic careers.

“So many students are struggling, their academics have been significantly impacted by COVID,” said Kim Walters, Executive Director of Huntington Learning Center in Mentor and Mayfield Heights. “Being in school and out of school, virtual and in-person, it has really thrown a lot of kids for a loop.”

She says they have seen a significant increase in students who are struggling and need supplemental help. 

“Some students have really fallen behind in their foundational reading and math skills and we’ve been able to step in and partner with those families and with their classroom teachers and other professionals in their daytime school to partner with them and collaborate on how best we can provide those students with the best quality education,” Walters said.

But not everyone has access to or can afford tutoring services. 

“If you look at most kids who are at limited or basic proficiency, they come from high poverty areas in the state of Ohio,” said State Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware).

He says legislation is in the works that would prepare college students studying education or with other relevant majors to help tutor K-12 students. 

“Many of these students could come back, into our high schools, into our elementary schools and help our many K-12 students who are at limited or basic proficiency and this, in many of these grades, it’s in the tune of hundreds of thousands of students in the state of Ohio based on last year’s standardized tests,” Brenner said.

Lawmakers are looking at using federal dollars to help hire the students and are looking at other incentives like course credit or possibly student loan forgiveness.

“This is going to be something that’s going to last several years, I don’t see this as something that’s, you know, going to be one and done, one school year, given how far many of these kids are behind,” said Brenner.

Walters is happy to hear that this is a priority in Columbus. 

“It is critically important that we give students the support that they need to learn all the foundational skills so that they have opportunities for not only today, but in the future,” she said.

Brenner says they hope to start having hearings on the legislation in the next couple of weeks and does not foresee this being a partisan issue.