Afterschool programs continue to be a source of support to the children and families in their community as they adapt to the challenging circumstances and stressors created by the pandemic. We've gathered together research (survey results and fact sheets) on Covid's impact as well as resources & examples highlighting ways programs have helped provide meals, community connections, and support for essential workers.
Issue brief: How Afterschool is Supporting Learning and Recovery During COVID-19
This issue brief explores the range of ways in which afterschool programs have responded to the needs of their community and placed the well-being and safety of children and families at the forefront of program efforts.
- YMCA of Metro Atlanta: Providing care for the children of essential workers
- Valley Heights Community Education and ourBRIDGE for KIDS: Providing critical supports to underserved communities
- Irwin A and Robert D Goodman Community Center and Breakthrough Miami: Keeping kids engaged in learning
- AfterOpp and the Boys & Girls Club of Parkersburg: Supporting the well-being of children and families
COVID provider and parent surveys
This year, we continue to see the impact of COVID-19 on afterschool and summer learning programs, and the young people and families who rely on them. As we move closer to recovery, it is important for funders, policymakers, education leaders, and the overall public to understand the supports afterschool and summer learning programs are currently providing, the challenges they face, and what their needs will be to help children recover from this period of loss and isolation.
To help make that possible, the Afterschool Alliance conducted a series of surveys to monitor the situation and help provide solutions. Take part in the fourth wave of the survey!
Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs Are Essential for COVID-19 RecoveryJan 2021
Describes how afterschool and summer learning programs are essential for meeting kids' needs and addressing inequities.Download
Expanding Learning and Supports for All StudentsFeb 2021
Demonstrates how afterschool and summer programs accelerate learning with unique academic, social, and emotional supports, including new data from Deborah Vandell and America After 3PM 2020.Download
Examples from the field
To learn more about how afterschool programs can work with community partners to provide meals, check out this webinar hosted by the Afterschool Alliance, the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and other partners. Additionally, this FAQs document provides additional guidance on how to safely provide meals, as well as answers to specific questions on serving meals through the Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program.
The USDA Food and Nutrition Services has issued a number of waivers to assist afterschool programs and other sponsors in serving meals to students. Issues covered in these waivers include guidance on:
- serving meals in non-congregate settings,
- elimination of the activity requirement in afterschool programs,
- allowances for parents and guardians to pick up meals and flexibility to distribute more than one day's worth of meals at a time, and
- meal pattern flexibility
The staff at the Boys & Girls Club of Parkersburg, West Virginia, are continuing to provide essential support to children, families and communities across their city in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Executive Director Ben Shuman and his team of 10 began gathering food for distribution to students even before schools closed on March 16 and ensured uninterrupted meal service until the school district could begin their own meal plans. They're also partnering with the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and neighborhood grocery store to make sure families can get the food and hygiene supplies needed as they get caught between being furloughed and becoming eligible for food stamps and unemployment.
In Georgia, 62 percent of children qualify for free and reduced price lunch -- meals that the YMCA of Metro Atlanta knew kids would not receive with schools closed. The Y move quickly to re-purpose its meals support to offer meal services and grocery pick up at several Y sites and schools, as well as meal delivery for seniors. The Y worked with partners to adapt to the communities' needs:
USDA: Utilizing newly relaxed guidance from the government, the Y is serving as USDA a meals provider, the Y is offering snack and dinner at Y sites daily from 2-4pm.
Publix Super Markets: A long-time partner of the Y, Publix is now supporting the Y's effort to serve more than 5,000 children each week while schools are closed.
Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation: A supporter of the Y's Backpack Program, which provides groceries for families over the weekends, the program is continuing to distribute backpacks of food each week.
Atlanta Community Food Bank: The Food Bank has provided food, including non-perishables, fresh produce, milk, and meat, to include in weekly backpacks as well as pop-up food pantries at branches. The Y expects to expand this work and be a distribution site for our community members struggling with food insecurity. The Northeast Cobb Family YMCA, in Marietta, is a delivery site for the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Every Wednesday, the Food Bank delivers 10 pallets of food, and volunteers make 250 bags filled with food and distribute them to families in the Marietta School District.
Westside Future Fund: The Y is serving as a packing location to prepare food bags that will be delivered to 250 seniors in the 30314 zip code-Atlanta's Westside.
Paran North Church: The Cobb Ys — Northeast Cobb Family YMCA, McCleskey Family YMCA, and Northwest Cobb Family YMCA — are working with Mt. Paran North Church to provide much-needed food to low-income families living in nearby hotels and apartment complexes in Cobb County. While the church is providing food it collected as donations, the Y is organizing the packing and delivery of meals.
Atlanta Classical Academy: The Y is partnering with schools like the Atlanta Classical Academy to use their locations for meal delivery
Read more at https://www.ymcaatlanta.org/blog
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa has been hard at work to provide meals and virtual programming for local families, even in the face of COVID-19. They've partnered with the Food Bank of Iowa to deliver meals to families. As of mid-April, more than 500 food bags have been distributed to families in need. They're also providing innovative daily virtual programming for Club kids through their website and Facebook, including STEM, art and physical activities.
Supporting the children of essential workers
The Institute for Childhood Preparedness created an extensive guide to help afterschool programs and child care centers provide services for children of essential workers. Topics covered include coordination with local governments and partners, staffing, and health and safety considerations.
YMCA of Silicon Valley is providing an essential service in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis: allowing many parents to keep going to work. They're transitioning several facilities into "pop-up" day camps where parents can drop off their children while they go to their jobs. They're also partnering with El Camino Hospital to offer free childcare for hospital employees, and with the Morgan Hill Unified School District to provide childcare for essential staff and first responders. YMCA staff offer youth development activities, independent study and free meals across the programs for students from transitional kindergarten through middle school.
Migrant children in Florida still have a safe place to learn while schools are closed, thanks to a tent school outside the Gargiulo Education Center. Markers outline six-foot boundaries and spaces are sterilized between each session with 9-10 children at a time. Logging the extra instruction hours helps these students stay on-track!
With all of its facilities close for regular services, the YMCA of Metro Atlanta stepped up to support first responders, medical professionals, and essential workers by caring for their children while they work. The Y worked with area hospitals, the Governor's Office, and Georgia's Department of Early Care and Learning to transition sites to meet this need, making careful adjustments such as limiting groups to 10 children and having nurses on site to check for symptoms and monitor temperatures of all participants at drop off. To meet the need for 2,000 children identified by hospital partners, each center is set up to serve approximately 80 children, ages 3-12, and is open from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Read more on Y's blog