Monday, April 20, 2020

Afterschool Program Changes Due to COVID-19

By Sam Piha

Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation developed a survey to learn how afterschool programs were adapting to new COVID-19 developments. The survey was issued on March 25, 2020 and was closed on April 9, 2020. We received 304 responses and below offer an executive summary of the findings. In the parenthesis, we cite the percentages or the actual count of responses. You can find a link to the survey executive summary and the full report with detailed chart and listings of the responses.


STAFFING EFFECTS: Most program staffing has been negatively effected due to COVID-19. Effects include: staff working from home (66%), lay- offs (20%), re-assignment of duties (17%), furloughed (20%), reduced staff/ hours or no work (9%) and other (9%).

  • My three full-time workers including myself work from home my other 30+ workers are not getting paid right now.
  • Staff have been offered the opportunity to work from our main office in separate spaces for the 8 sites maintaining safe social distancing.
  • Clubs have reduced staff but are still providing virtual learning to youth. 

If staff received re-assignment, they were re-assigned to work from home (15%), or to provide emergency services (8%). Other responses included re-assignment to youth group homes and crisis centers, distributing youth activity packages, and creating virtual or online materials. Respondents were asked by what percentage their staff was reduced. Their responses were 0-25% (27%), 26-50% (13%), 51-75% (11%) and 76-100% (48%).

We asked respondents how long they could survive while retaining staff. Their responses were: less than a month (17%), 1- 3 months (50%), 4- 6 months (8%), through the end of the school year (19%) and 6 months or more (6%).


PROGRAMS THAT PROVIDE SICK LEAVE BENEFITS: 66%. The length of sick leave varied: 24 hours (12%), 1-5 days (12%), 6-13 days (25%), 2 weeks (13%), more than 2 weeks (9%) and hours accrued (29%).


TO MAINTAIN STAFF COHESION: Respondents cited communicate through email, text messages, phone calls (30%); communicate thought social media, Zoom conferencing and work emails (33%); engaging with webinars, online meetings, PD and other apps (26%); and daily/ weekly staff check-ins (12%).

  • We will begin Zoom meetings this week. We are in constant communication by email and text. My staff have weekly assignment to do.
  • We have video conferences to start and end the day. We are also logged into a group chat via Google Hangouts, so we can ask questions/ help one another during the day.

TO CONTINUE STAFF DEVELOPMENT: Respondents cited using online training/ webinars (54%); increased meetings, email and check-ins (6%); engaging in Zoom meetings (13%) and other (15%).

  • After School Coordinators are creating weekly professional development (PD) and provide the PD through either zoom or google hangouts. One on One training depending on staff needs.  
  • We are using this time for long term planning that we otherwise don't take the time to do.
  • We are very fortunate to be an SEL grant site. Our staff will have online virtual training and Zoom sessions that will focus on self- care and they will receive stipend dollars for participating. It will not make up for lost hourly wages, but it will help and we already know the quality and usefulness of these trainings are invaluable.   

TO MAINTAIN CONTACT WITH YOUTH PARTICIPANTS: Most programs are seeking to maintain virtual contact with their youth. Strategies being used include: emails and text messages (17%); engaging on an online platform (19%); engaging with phone calls, social media (Facebook) (28%); sending out mail or activity packets (4%); engaging in Zoom meetings or calls (16%) and other (10%).

  • Most of our districts have moved to instructional packets. We have given electronic copies of these to all of our staff. Each program is creating an online platform via Google Classroom and will be hosting live virtual homework help, and we are also working on virtual programming to be offered regularly throughout the week (e.g., interactive fitness classes, pre-recorded fitness challenges, interactive clubs).
  • We have been using Parent Square, sending Robo Calls and updating our social media pages.
  • Group texts and creating a youth targeted Instagram page. Only program participant youth are allowed to register.    

TO MAINTAIN CONTACT/ SUPPORT WITH PARTICIPANTS’ FAMILIES: Strategies include: engaging on social media, Zoom conferencing, through other websites or updated web pages (26%); phone calls, texts or emails (42%); through food distributing or delivered activity packets (6%) and other (17%).

IMMEDIATE: Program leaders cited many different needs. They included: to care for staff safety and health (3%); better online options and greater access to technology (9%); supplies (11%); better guidance, information and planning (13%); funding (29%); increased online activities and resources (2%) and other (18%).

  • We need to know what will happen with funding and how attendance will be tracked/counted during this time. Not knowing leaves my team with a feeling anxiety and uncertainty.
  • Funds to pay staff to develop activities via our virtual platforms. Electronic devices to distribute to students to keep them engaged as 100 % of my students live below poverty.

INTERMEDIATE NEEDS: Program leaders cited many different needs. They included: to care for staff safety and health (5%); more guidance, directions and information (9%); funding (53%); developing greater access to technology (7%); supplies and activity kits (7%); long term plans (6%) and other (7%).

  • Computer Literacy resources for parents who must oversee distant learning and external supports to students who may not have access to adults in home to monitor learning.
  • Finding strategies to keep our students engaged, motivated, and productive through distance learning.  

TRANSITIONING OUT-OF-SCHOOL WORKFORCE TO PROVIDE ESSENTIAL SERVICES: Program leaders suggested several ideas and concerns. Ideas included: providing childcare to essential workers (4%), offering grocery services (27%), offering delivery services (29%), developing activities, care packages and food distribution (27%) and other (11%).

  • Supporting food pantry sites (packing, offloading, meal delivery). Creating activity books/ learning packages for kids to do at home that can be self- guided. 
  • Delivery would be nice. Food service for lunches. Working in collaboration with schools to make relevant, interactive fun videos for Club members.
  • Our employees do not want to put themselves or their families at risk by transitioning to provide essential services.  

OVERALL IMPACTS FROM THE COVID-19 CRISIS: Program leaders report that staff, youth and their families are very stressed and concerned.

  • We are completely shut down and beginning in April we will lose about 170k in monthly revenue if schools remain closed.
  • Unhappy stakeholders, children are uneducated at home, many parent(s) DO NOT spend time reading to their children during this crisis because they are out working trying to make ends meet, put food on the table, pay bills, and trying not to get COVID-19 while doing their duty to provide for their family.
  • The feeling of uncertainty sits with all of us. My team has been working to create a virtual program/ platform for our students and families, but it's uncharted waters and many of them are discouraged. Stakeholders have been understanding and appreciate that we are trying to innovate and maintain a meaningful connection/support system to our students.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Respondents were asked to provide any additional comments/ changes/ developments to their program.

  • Our management team and most of our team members share that they feel we will be stronger and better than ever after this experience. We're committed to our kids and to each other and we'll get through this and be even closer to each other.
  • Please share these results with us. I am interested in what others are thinking. This will be good info for our stakeholders. Thanks for asking these important questions.
  • We want our infrastructure to remain strong and need flexible funding so that we can nimbly respond immediately when called to serve, amid the crisis or once orders are lifted. We are most concerned with the physical and emotional wellbeing of our families and staff, now, as the pandemic worsens and when everyone reintegrates after this collective trauma.  

ROLES: Respondents varied from program staff member working directly with children (26%), manages a single program (33%), oversee 2-10 programs (28%), oversee 11 and up programs (16%), and other (6%).
LOCATION: Most of the respondents were located in California (54%) and Florida (43%). We also received responses from leaders in Texas, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, Washington, Virginia, Missouri and Washington DC.
PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCES: CA State ASES (41%), CA State ASSETs/ CCLC (12%), Federal CCLC (19%), private funders (34%), participant fees (12%), city/ local (2%), and other (13%).
NUMBER OF YOUNG PEOPLE SERVED: Respondents represented programs serving 10- 50 (12%), 50- 100 (26%), 100- 200 (21%), 200-1000 (37%), 1000- 5000 (6%), and more than 5000 youth participants (.03%).

FULL REPORT DETAILS: To access a detailed report, including many of the “other- write in” responses, click here.

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