As we prepare for the school year to begin, our staff and families are facing school districts' shifting plans and a prolonged pandemic, resulting in confusion and frustration among students and parents.
"ASAS's diverse network is a source of strength and stability for thousands of youth and families nationwide. Whether it's re-imagining our programs in a virtual space, ensuring the basic needs of our families are met, fiercely advocating for the rights and lives of our students or the simple act of calling a kid each week so they know someone is there for them, our organizations' commitment never wavers. As we navigate the coming months there will be new challenges and uncertainty, but for the students and families we serve, the one constant will always be ASAS."
-Tyler Chandler, REGIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR SOUTH CENTRAL REGION
District of Columbia Begins School Year with Remote/Virtual Learning:
The DC chapter provided in-person programming to students whose parents are essential workers, as well as virtual programming to All-Star students in their network this Spring and Summer. The chapter is now preparing for virtual programming this Fall. Washington D.C. Public Schools will be completely virtual until at least November 6th, with students receiving synchronous programming with teachers four to five hours per day and afterschool from 3 to 6pm daily.
New York City Prepares for Face-to-Face Programming:
ASAS NY staff provided virtual learning experiences over the summer which enabled youth and families to participate in Health and Wellness, Family Engagement, and Enrichment. New York City will open schools to in-person learning if the test positivity rate is less than 3%. All-Stars staff is ready to start programming on September 10th as per NYC Department of Youth and Community Development's directives. All providers are expected to administer in-person services as much as possible, with an acknowledgement that they may need to pause for virtual services at different points, depending on how the pandemic evolves.
ASAS NY has also been invited to support the Learning Labs Childcare Options Model where students attend school in person approximately 2-3 days per week and are enrolled in free remote learning the remainder of the time at public sites across the city.
ASAS NY is currently working through plans with our full-time chapter staff to understand each school's expectations. It is important to note that, while in most cases, schools have said they will provide personal protective gear and other COVID safety measures, ASAS National, in partnership with each chapter, has established protocols and plans to ensure that staff and students can have a safe and healthy environment.
The uncertainty about the school year in New York City has created an enormous amount of anxiety among students. Many parents have lost their employment, may be part of the group deemed 'essential workers,' or may have had to reshuffle living situations due to change in income. Those situations, together with the increased attention and incidences of racial and ethnic profiling in our communities are quite a lot for students to endure.
Tampa Bay''s Last Minute Flip Flop
In early-August, the Hillsborough School District switched gears away from its initial in-person school opening stance and announced that schools will begin the year virtually on August 24th for four weeks. After the state threatened to cut off funding, the Hillsborough County School District is reversing its decision to keep schools closed through September and will reopen all public schools on August 31st.
In response to the critical need to address returning students' social emotional needs, Tampa Bay staff completed a 3-part series of training with our program partner KidGrit. Staff also began contacting parents this month to register children for programming and are excited about the virtual programming they will offer. Many Tampa Bay ASAS parents are in need of "in-person" programming as many of them are working and need that safe environment as well as the academic support for their children.
ASAS Tampa Bay has a long history of strong collaboration with the schools it works in; staff are working with Hillsborough County Schools on an "Out of School Time Safety Plan", to ensure the safety of All-Stars staff and children. Staff are making sure safety protocols are in place and have put plans and procedures in place to ensure they can pivot if they have staff that contract COVID (in-person or virtually).
Cleveland Chapter Provides Face-to-Face Programming Across the City:
The Cleveland chapter provided face-to-face programming this summer at their Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority sites. They will continue to provide face-to-face afterschool academic and enrichment activities at those sites, as well as several city recreation center sites this fall to a total of 100+ students.
As the pandemic continues, and the school year approaches, students and families are facing a lack of clarity and feeling anxious. The local school district announced the first 9 weeks of school will be conducted in the virtual space and ASAS is organized to support school site students with a variety of virtual offerings. Programming at all All-Stars sites across the city will include the engaging curriculum Edmentum, which includes research-based assessments for learning. It will help students move the needle a little farther every day and address COVID-19 slide, in which students show patterns of academic setbacks typical of summers throughout an extended closure.
In the coming months there will be a need for flexibility across all After-School All-Stars chapters. This school year will be different than any other. All-Stars is prepared to keep students safe and healthy at the start of the school year and make adjustments as public health needs change and students grow. With your help, we will continue to balance our programs through deep relationships with our schools, our communities and increased parent engagement. Support our virtual and in-person programs by donating