Appreciating Afterschool Professionals During a Pandemic
April 14, 2020
Next week marks the start of Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week (April 20-24), and this year, we’re thinking about all of the ways we appreciate what afterschool and out-of-school-time (OST) professionals are doing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have found, after many conversations with program providers around the country, that almost all programs have been in contact with families, many are connecting families to services that will cover their basic needs, and some are offering virtual programming. We also know that many OST organizations are helping provide vital meals to children and young people who need them now that schools are closed. Here are just a few more of the many ways OST organizations and their members are helping out.
Providing Resources for OST Professionals
- When the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) canceled its annual convention because of COVID-19, they created a “Reimagined Virtual Convention,” bringing afterschool professionals and leaders together online from around the country. Here are highlights from the keynote speakers, DeRay Mckesson, Alex Sheen, and Stacey Abrams.
- NAA State Affiliates have been hosting virtual town halls and information sessions and sharing resources for parents and youth. The Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence has even started an emergency fund for vulnerable afterschool programs.
- The Afterschool Alliance has been gathering examples of “COVID-19: Considerations for the Afterschool Field,” including examples of effective guidance for programs, issues to consider, and more. They’ve also suggested ways educators can stay connected to students during the pandemic. Finally, they’re offering a webinar on “Policy Supports for Afterschool and Summer Programs during the Pandemic.”
Providing Activity Resources for Students and Families
- Alliance for a Healthier Generation has posted several “Fitness Break” videos starring professional athletes to help children and families stay healthy at home.
- The Build Our Kids’ Success physical activity program is hosting at-home BOKS classes through Facebook Live every weekday at 12 p.m. ET.
- Boston After School & Beyond is maintaining a list of activities and resources for students, gathered from their network of partners.
- After-School All-Stars is realigning its programming to an online format, focusing on physical exercise and social and emotional support, and also raising money for food assistance.
We offer our deepest appreciation to every one of the OST professionals and volunteers helping support children, youth, and families in these unprecedented times.