about reopening – fall 2020

With Arizona schools already reopening–even if they are mostly virtual–Out-of-School Time programs can and should still play a vital role in student support. The Afterschool Alliance has some great tips on things for the OST field to consider: 


Flexible, expanded schedules – As states begin to share guidance and ideas for schools to reopen, many call for staggered schedules to limit how many youth are in school at a time. Families will need supervised, engaging programs for children on remote learning days in addition to after-school hours. While schools are focused now on their own logistics, they will feel pressure to help parents who cannot be home when students aren’t in school, and to make sure remote learners have a space to log on.

Alternate space & facilities – We’ve got to prepare for the possibility that schools may be closed to OST providers.  If you have access to other facilities, this could be a great asset to bring up to local school leaders as you seek to partner with them on re-opening plans. If you usually operate in schools, think about how you might access other spaces or facilities. Think about libraries, parks, community centers, cultural or performing arts centers that may have under-used spaces. Talk to local city or county leaders about ideas.

Staffing considerations – Programs will likely need to sustain staff ratios of 10-1 per health guidelines; prepare for the possibility that some staff may not be able or comfortable working in the same capacity; and be ready for continued, or resumption of, virtual programming.

“Doubling down on social-emotional learning (SEL).” – The social and emotional needs of children have never been greater; make sure you are prepared to help students re-engage and re-connect, to when youth need additional mental health support, and have a plan for connecting youth to that additional support. The American Institute for Research released a new brief, Recognizing the Role of Afterschool and Summer Programs in Reopening and Rebuilding.

Enhancing academic support/enrichment – With estimates that students will experience more than a 50 percent learning loss this year, it is more important than ever to work with schools to complement school day lessons, open lines of communication with teachers to help identify youth who need extra help and shape your homework help, tutoring and enrichment activities to their needs. For instance, establish regular meetings between the afterschool program director and principals, assign staff members the responsibility of managing and maintaining communication, and host joint professional development opportunities for both school day staff and OST program staff.

Here in Arizona we are seeing many enrichment providers like art studios, karate studios and gyms opening their doors to provide a safe space for youth to connect to their virtual learning programs. We encourage parents to do their due diligence as they make selections for their kids and make sure that the program is following CDC health and safety guidelines and that they are prepared with staff that support the youth appropriately based on their age and needs. We encourage those providers to adopt and pledge to follow the Arizona Quality Standards for Out-Of-School Time Programs. 



TGR Foundation

This website provides no-cost lesson plans, digital modules, family resources, and professional development. Some of the highlights to check out include:

  • Teacher Professional Development: (Re) Defining STEM

  • Curriculum: Robots to the Rescue and College Blueprint

  • Family Resources: Design a Game Challenge

There are also free educator training virtual workshops you can sign up for. Visit their website at https://tgreduexplore.org/

There is so much more, so log in and have fun exploring!


  1. Reach out to your school and district leaders to talk about the role you are willing to play to support them and students in re-opening; Schools share many of the same concerns we do around social and emotional support; learning loss; and children needing supervision, meals and support on days outside of school. We need to let them know we want to be part of the team to help youth recover and re-engage.

  2. Contact Congress and your local policymakers to make sure they know afterschool programs are  key to recovery, but can’t help without additional funds for smaller staff ratios, expanded hours, & PPE, and access to additional space.