COVID is Changing the Education Landscape

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Following a season during which summer learning programs affected by the pandemic struggled to meet demand for their services, a large majority of afterschool programs that are open this fall report facing significant barriers as they strain to meet the needs of the students and families they have long supported. Among the challenges: Students who stand to benefit the most from these programs are now less likely than others to be able to access them. Those are key results from national surveys of parents and of afterschool providers, conducted by Edge Research and released today by the Afterschool Alliance and the National Summer Learning Association.

The surveys find that both programs and parents are challenged by virtual learning and evolving school schedules; programs are limited by budgets that are inadequate to address new safety protocols and students’ emerging needs; and students from low-income families are now much less likely than others to have access to out-of-school-time programs. Programs serving mostly children from higher-income families are almost twice as likely as those serving mostly children from low-income families to report being physically open, and among those that are physically open, those serving mostly children from higher-income families are more likely to be open to all children, including children of non-essential workers, than programs serving mostly children from low-income families.

“There are flashing red lights in these surveys with regard to the sustainability of the programs that families rely on, and the ability of these programs to serve the students who need them the most,” said Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance.

“When the history books are written for this pandemic, our nation will see the resiliency and resolve of out-of-school-time leaders who have risen to the occasion to serve our most vulnerable young people and families,” said Aaron P. Dworkin, CEO,  National Summer Learning Association.

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