As communities and states begin to emerge from lockdowns, afterschool and summer learning programs are developing plans to welcome youth back through their doors. There are significant considerations programs need to undertake in order to successfully and safely reopen. To help afterschool and summer learning programs through this process, we've curated a number of resources, guides, and examples to help you develop a plan to safely care for children and youth.
A School Year Like No Other Demands a New Learning Day: A Blueprint for How Afterschool Programs & Community Partners Can Help
The most successful school reopening plans will be developed jointly by schools, afterschool programs, community-based organizations, and parents so that together we can ensure our children are learning, safe, engaged, and building academic, social, and emotional skills during the hours their parents are at work. A host of additional resources and local expertise can be tapped to help implement a new learning day and ensure our children reach their full potential.
Expanded Learning Programs: Principles for Reopening & Recovery
No matter what shape the school year takes, expanded learning programs will be more essential than ever before. We should not expect schools to pull off the massive and uncharted task of redesigning the learning day on their own -- afterschool and expanded learning partners stand ready to help. Decades of research on afterschool and summer programs reveal a core set of key principles that are essential for successful expanded learning. Use these documents to guide expanded learning policy at the local, state, and federal levels.
Working together, schools, afterschool programs, and community partners can better help all young people, and especially those who have been historically underserved, emerge from this crisis strong, resilient, hopeful, and better prepared to learn.
Quick Brief: Tools to Help Plan for Summer Programs
Summer during COVID will not look like the summers of the past, but parents will still need safe, supervised places for their kids to go as they return to work and children will still need enrichment, recreation, and time outdoors. Fortunately, national organizations and states have been thinking about how to operate summer camps safely during the pandemic.
Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs Are Essential for COVID-19 Recovery
The afterschool field is an essential part of the nationwide community response to the coronavirus pandemic, and programs continue to play a critical role throughout recovery as our states reopen for business
National Organization Guidance
American Camp Association – Camp Operations Guide 2020 – The American Camp Association, in partnership with Y of the USA, developed a field guide to help summer camps and summer learning programs safely reopen this summer. The guide includes suggestions for communication with families, health screenings, cleaning and disinfection of facilities, food service, and facilitating student activities.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – The CDC issued several tools to help afterschool and summer learning programs in reopening programs. Consideration for Youth and Summer Camps includes general guidance on promoting behaviors to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and ideas for how to ensure students are in a health environment. The CDC also created a flowchart to help programs determine whether or not it is safe to provide programming.
National Summer Learning Association – Summer Learning: A Bridge to Student Success and America’s Recovery – This guide provides resources, best practices, and tools to help afterschool and summer learning program develop long-term, equitable learning strategies, particularly as they navigate challenges caused by COVID-19. https://www.summerlearning.
National Occupational Therapy Association – Back to School Guide in the Era of COVID-19 – This resources provides expert advice on how to help children and youth safely transition back to school this fall. https://www.aota.org/~/media/
If your students are returning to your program in person, providing safe, socially distanced learning activities is a must. Be sure to check out some of these curriculum ideas:
- Playworks: Playworks School Re-Opening Workbook
Brush up on your skills and think through new ideas for programming this summer. Many organizations are offering discounted or low-cost professional development opportunities.
- YMCA Nashville Childcare Policy and YMCA Safety Protocol
- Supporting staff, YMCA of Metro Atlanta (video)
- How Horton's Kids are pivoting to bring in new public and private funding (video)
- Staying connected with families—find creative ways program are keeping in touch with families to respond to need
Be sure to check out the Afterschool Alliance's list of potential funding opportunities for financial resources that may help your program reopen.Funding List