As communities and states begin to emerge from lockdowns, afterschool and summer learning programs are developing plans to welcome young people 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 — and collaborate with your school system — to safely care for children and youth.

5 Steps: Reaching out to School Leaders About Reopening

Use this simple 5-step plan to help ensure your afterschool programs are at the planning table and included in schools' reopening strategies. You'll find more factsheets, blogs, and CDC guidance below.

Identify the school districts, school board leaders and groups you will reach out to, including states superintendent, school board or community education council and school administrator associations. If statewide outreach is daunting, build a list of priority districts. Consider:

  • High need and high poverty areas (map of high poverty counties)
  • Districts where you have good working relationships with the district or afterschool programs in the area
  • Districts that have a politically influential representative in Congress or the state legislature
  • Bonus: aim to cover a variety of media markets in your state Identify any people or programs you can partner with to reach key groups on your target list.

Use these tools to contact the people and organizations you've identified. Share materials that show how afterschool can support schools for reopening and throughout the year. Request a meeting where feasible.

build_circle Making the Case to LEAs (Jan. 2021 Briefing Tool)

Use this tool to help you speak with principals, superintendents, and school boards about using COVID-19 recovery dollars to support students with afterschool and summer learning programs.


build_circle COVID Relief Funds: New Opportunities for Afterschool and Summer (Jan. 2021 Briefing Tool)

This document provides guidance to help you explain to state and local leaders the ways that COVID relief funds supplied to states can support afterschool and summer programs’ efforts to serve children and families.


build_circle Sample email and letter from a network or provider to superintendent or school board

Customize this template email and letter and send to school leaders, asking to be part of their school's reopening planning discussions. Send this letter with the handout.


build_circle Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs Are Essential for Recovery

A two-page handout that describes how afterschool and summer learning programs are essential for meeting kids’ needs and addressing inequities. It also explains why COVID relief funds are needed with specific examples of how they would be used. 


build_circle Sample one pager about how afterschool can support different reopening scenarios

Customize and share this one-pager with school leaders. This explains how afterschool programs can support students and families, and what they can offer for various reopening strategies.


Afterschool networks, leaders and providers can help engage parents and ask them to contact their child's principal. State networks can also reach out to help coordinate and support programs in districts that have a politically influential representative in Congress or the state legislature.

build_circle Sample email from network to providers

A template email afterschool networks and leaders can send to programs in their state requesting that they engage parents and contact school leaders about partnering with afterschool.


build_circle Sample email from providers to families

A template email afterschool providers can send to families requesting that they email their child's principal about including afterschool in reopening plans. The email includes a sample letter from parent to principal in both English and Spanish.


build_circle NAFSCE Recommendations

For additional ideas on how to engage parents in the reopening process, take a look at these ideas from the National Association for Family, School, and Community Engagement.


State networks and leaders may consider using an open letter to gather signatures of partners, supportive schools and education leaders, programs, and other supporters across the state to share with school boards and superintendents.

build_circle Sample sign on letter for afterschool networks and leaders

A template sign on letter that describes the critical resources afterschool programs can provide and urges school officials to partner with afterschool programs. Use it to gather names and email addresses; share it with school officials to demonstrate the demand for afterschool.


State networks, leaders, programs and staff can use social media channels to promote the role of afterschool programs in reopening—and share tools that programs can use.

build_circle Sample posts and tweets

Back to school comes with a lot of uncertainty. One thing we can all agree on: Kids need more support. Let's involve afterschool programs in recovery plans.
To recover from the pandemic, students will need every option on the table. Afterschool programs are ready to partner with schools where they're needed most.


A collection of graphics that can be shared on Facebook and Twitter. Click on a graphic to download.
Guidance and Resources on Partnering with Schools to Reopen
Partnering with Schools to Reopen and Meet Students' Needs: A table that describes how afterschool programs can help meet kids' needs for different strategies schools are using to reopen. This includes messages you can use to make the case for involving afterschool leaders in discussions about protocols and schedules that are being developed for instruction, transportation and safety procedures in the coming school year.
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Blueprint: A School Year Like No Other Demands a New Learning Day

Blueprint: PDF
Statement in support: PDF | Word

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Brief: Expanded Learning Programs: Principles to Support Student Re-Engagement
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Quick Brief: Tools to Help Plan for Summer Programs
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Factsheet: Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs Are Essential for COVID-19 Recovery
National Organization Guidance

American Camp AssociationCamp Operations Guide 2020

Centers for Disease Control and PreventionConsideration for Youth and Summer Camps | Camp Reopening Decision Tree

National Summer Learning AssociationSummer Learning: A Bridge to Student Success and America’s Recovery, a COVID-19 PLAYBOOK

National Occupational Therapy AssociationBack to School Guide in the Era of COVID-19

PlayworksPlayworks School Re-Opening Workbook

Promising Practices for Reopening