RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has announced that it is launching a program intended to help students recover from the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on education in the Commonwealth.

The program, which is called “Engage Virginia” and was announced by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow on Monday, Feb. 3, is an “academic recovery and coaching program” that will be free to students and their families.

According to VDOE, the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing temporary move to online schooling have had a negative impact on learning and attendance, among other things, in Virginia’s schools.

In response, “Engage Virginia” will provide 24/7 tutoring, homework assistance and academic resources, as well as study and time-management coaching, test preparation, motivational coaching and more.

“Engage Virginia will supplement the efforts already underway in our school divisions in partnership with VDOE to meet the needs of students still struggling with academic, attendance, mental health issues,” said Balow. “It is our goal to fill every available slot with students who can benefit from this support.”

The General Assembly appropriated $3.5 million for VDOE to create “Engage Virginia” which was done in partnership with Graduation Alliance, a Utah-based online educator. It is estimated that up to 18,500 students will be helped by the program.

School districts will opt-in to participate in “Engage Virginia”, and families of students outside of participating districts can enroll directly on the program’s website.