How Out of School Time Organizations can manage through COVID-19
The following article is provided by Afterschool Alliance
The outbreak of COVID-19 raises questions and concerns for all of us. We’re gathering examples of effective guidance for programs, and issues you might want to consider. Please send any guidance you have received, questions you have, suggestions, best practices, questions you are struggling with and we will share them here.
Follow and share guidance from the CDC on practices such as hand washing, social distancing, and limiting contact. Providers also should review and follow CDC’s guidelines for child-care and youth-serving organizations.
Remind families that if children or parents have symptoms, they should not attend the program.Step up your cleaning and disinfecting, and communicate your actions to families.
Check local guidance. Make sure you know local guidance and processes, such as who to contact if you have a scenario involving quarantines, possible infection among parents, staff, or children. Check with:
- Texas Department of Health and Human Services
- Dallas County Office of Health and Human Services
- Agency that regulates or licenses your program
- Your school district(s)
Emergency Contact Information: Take time to review and update emergency contact information for each child, and staff member, enrolled in your program(s).
Think ahead: Make sure you and your staff know what to do if a parent, child, or staff member is diagnosed or quarantined, and contingency plans should your program need to close. Keep an open dialogue with staff.
Address anxiety and stress through staying calm and focusing on prevention and preparedness (from the Maryland Out-of-School Time Network):
- We hear a lot about good hygiene and washing hands these day but here are some ideas to make handwashing both fun and educational.
- How we talk to our children and young adults about the pandemic is important, particularly those who already experience anxiety or trauma. Here is a guide about the outbreak for parents, that works well for educators and you can share with families.
Remote Learning: As school districts close and students are asked to stay home, there are ways to continue to engage your youth through virtual lessons. The American Federation of Teachers has a wealth of resources to help with learning at home. Want to talk through ideas? They also have an online discussion community where you can share ideas, lesson plans, and resources.