Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Re-Opening Programs and More

By Sam Piha

There is a lot of discussion and debate about how and when to re-open schools and youth programs. For youth programs that are located within schools, it is important that afterschool leaders stay abreast of the current thinking on this topic and ensure that any re-opening encompasses youth development values. Because the pandemic situation is very fluid, ideas about re-opening schools are very dynamic.

“As you prepare to welcome students and adults back to school, you face the layered impact of schools closures, the pandemic, racial inequities amplified by nationwide mobilization, and more.”
-CASEL Newsletter, 7/9/20 

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has released a roadmap for re-opening schools. CASEL collaborated with over 40 leading organizations in developing 4 critical practices:

  1. Take time to cultivate and deepen relationships, build partnerships, and plan for SEL.
  2. Design opportunities where adults can connect, heal, and build their capacity to support students.
  3. Create safe, supportive, and equitable learning environments that promote all students’ social and emotional development.
  4. Use data as an opportunity to share power, deepen relationships, and continuously improve support for students, families, and staff.

"As we sit down and really try to figure out what is going to be a long haul of reopening slowly...we're going to need such a different approach to the traditional 'show up and sit in your seat.' We need all partners at the table together."

-Karen Pittman
President & CEO, Forum for Youth Investment

Below we have offered a link to this entire report as well as some other resources. (Because the plans for re-opening is developed locally, it is important that afterschool leaders track their local plans.)


  • Two medical students, Samantha Harris and Devon Scott, recently wrote a children’s book about coronavirus, Why We Stay Home, to help parents communicate with their children about why so many families across the nation have been staying home. For a free download of the book, click here. To access video read aloud, click here. To view an interview with the authors on PBS News Hour, click here.

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