Leveraging Afterschool to Address Learning Loss

The American Rescue Plan makes critical investments to support afterschool, summer, and other expanded learning opportunities through $2.2 billion in funds to address learning loss. For New York, this is about $629 million provided directly to the state, and $1.6 billion directly to local school districts. See below for resources you can use to reach out to local partners – school boards, superintendents, and principals – to share what you can offer students to support learning recovery.

Reaching out to School Leaders

Your afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs are an essential part of recovery and will be more important than ever as students, families, schools, and community partners, and other critical stakeholders work together to address learning loss. Principals and local leaders will drive decisions about how schools reopen and how they work with their afterschool partners. Collaboration between out-of-school time and in-school time is more important than ever.

We want to be sure families and schools are aware of the different ways your program can help during this crisis – and engage them in supporting you. We have provided some simple tools to help you show school leaders how they benefit from working with afterschool providers and how much families rely on your program.

Additional resource

Help Kids Recover is a campaign of the Afterschool AllianceAfter-School All-StarsBoys & Girls Club of AmericaGirl Scouts of the USAGirls Inc.National AfterSchool AssociationYMCA of the USA, and youth development and out-of-school time experts to help connect education leaders with community partners around the shared goal of supporting students. The website serves as a resource for local and state education agencies on using American Rescue Plan funds to support student’s academic, social, and emotional growth by partnering with community-based afterschool and summer programs. The site includes information on funding by state and district; evidence-based practices for quality programs; and examples of partnerships from around the country.

Afterschool providers reaching out to schools/school districts

Please visit the Afterschool Alliance American Rescue Plan page for new and current resources.

  • Template letter  providers and advocates can send local education leaders to explain how afterschool and summer programs help address learning loss and support students with academic, social and emotional resources.
  • Talking points to help you prepare for meetings and/or use in follow-up emails.
  • Summer learning talking points from the National Summer Learning Association with four key messages about summer learning programs’ power to make a difference for kids as they recover this summer. These messages can help organize your thoughts for meetings and follow-up emails with state- and local-level decision-makers.
  • Partnering with Schools to Reopen and Meet Students’ Needs: Communicating about the value of afterschool: This resource will help afterschool leaders identify and communicate specific ways programs can help schools as they make plans to reopen. We encourage afterschool providers and leaders to review the table in the document that describes how afterschool programs can help meet kids’ needs for different strategies schools are using to reopen. The table includes messages you can use to make the case for involving afterschool leaders in discussions about protocols and schedules that are being developed for instruction, transportation and safety procedures in the coming school year.
  • Template email and letter: Customize this template email and letter and send to school leaders, asking to be part of their school’s planning discussions. Send this letter with the “Afterschool Programs: We’re Here to Support Your Students“.
  • Afterschool and STEM: This tool has STEM-specific talking points for learning recovery and workforce. Use these messages for engaging with policymakers and education leaders to make the case for partnership and funding.

Afterschool providers reaching out to parents

These templates are available in English and Spanish.



In efforts to provide an information hub that will help the afterschool and childcare field make informed decisions about their ongoing programming and coordination amid COVID-19, the Network collated information on childcare from reopening plans made available by the school districts across New York State over summer 2020. We searched through each school district’s plan and coded whether their reopening plan included information about the following services: childcare, before school care, afterschool care, virtual learning, care during virtual learning, school providing space for childcare, and pre-kindergarten programs.


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School Reopening Timeline 2020 

  • June 15-24: Four regional taskforce meetings held
  • July 13: Release of New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) interim guidance for in-person instruction at pre-K to grade 12 schools
  • July 16: Release of New York State Education Department (NYSED) guidance for schools’ reopening
  • July 22 (as of): NYSED school reopening FAQs: This document is frequently updated.
  • July 31: All schools and districts are required to create and provide reopening plans at the school level. The plans should be posted on the school’s public website. To find the website link to New York’s school districts by region and county, click here.
  • August 1-7: determination of which school districts can reopen to students in September based on the State’s formula. The formula is based on COVID-19 data in each region. Schools in regions in Phase Four of their reopening at that time will be able to reopen to students if the region’s daily infection rate remains 5% or lower over a 14-day average. After August 1, schools will close if their regional infection rate is greater than 9% over a seven-day average.
  • August 7: Governor Cuomo announces that based on each region’s infection rate, schools across the state are permitted to open this fall. As of the date of the announcement, every region’s infection rate is below the threshold necessary by the State’s standards to open schools.
  • August 10:  Governor Cuomo announces an August 14 deadline for 107 school districts that have not submitted plans for in-person learning. If school districts fail to meet the deadline, they will not be allowed to open in-person. The Department of Health (DOH) also notifies school districts of the status of their reopening plans on this day. Districts that are found to be out of compliance will receive a letter and a follow-up call naming the sections of their plans that are deficient, in which case they will have until Friday, August 21 to amend their plan.
  • August 14: Deadline for school districts to submit plans for in-person learning to the Department of Health.
  • August 21: School districts must complete three to five public sessions with parents and teachers and post their plans for remote learning, testing and tracing on their website by this date to be in compliance with standards established by the State.

Join ongoing webinars hosted by the Afterschool Alliance to learn from experts and fellow practitioners on the latest in afterschool, including program funding, research and analysis, practical guides, and how TOs.

Check out the “Voices of Summer Webinar Series” hosted by the National Summer Learning Association.

The National AfterSchool Association is also hosting a series of webinars to support and provide resources to the afterschool field. Visit this page to learn more.

Afterschool and School Reopening Documents