Afterschool and School Reopening

New York’s reopening guidance for schools provided a necessary roadmap to help schools adapt in response to the grave impact of COVID-19 on New York’s students and families. As schools go hybrid or to completely online learning, parents and guardians will need to know that they have options to adapt – they will need safe, supervised care for their school-age children. School-age child care (SACC) must be supported to adapt and coordinate with the school system so that they can provide continued support for children, youth, and families.


School Reopening Timeline 

  • 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.


21 years of Lights On Afterschool

What: Whether this is your first Lights On Afterschool or your 21st, join the Afterschool Alliance for this webinar to inspire and help you get the most out of your celebration – whether happening in-person or virtually. Hear how some Lights On Afterschool organizers are planning events in their states, and learn about new tools to help you and showcase your event!

When: September 22, 2020, 2:00pm

Where: Go here to learn more about the event.

Preparing for Back to School and Navigating Summer in the Time of COVID-19: What Do Parents Need and What are Out-of-School-Time Programs Able to Offer

What: Join to hear afterschool and summer learning education leaders and afterschool and summer program experts discuss the challenges the field has encountered as the country continues to grapple with the pandemic, as well as how programs have adapted to the circumstances to rise to meet the needs of their communities.

The Afterschool Alliance and the National Summer Learning Association will release findings from parents along with reflections from afterschool and summer program providers. Tune in to hear what is top of mind for program providers and parents as the school year begins and recommendations for how to move forward during these difficult times.

When: September 24, 2020, 1:00pm

Where: Go here to learn more about the event.

2020 Lights On Afterschool

What: Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and generates media coverage across the country each year.

When: October 22, 2020

Where: Go here to learn more about the event.


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 

Reaching out to School Leaders on Reopening


Your afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs are an essential part of recovery and will be more important than ever during the unpredictable school year ahead. As New York has released guidance for the upcoming school year, 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.

Afterschool providers reaching out to schools/school districts

  • 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 reopening planning discussions. Send this letter with the “Afterschool Programs: We’re Here to Support Your Students“.

Afterschool providers reaching out to parents

These templates are available in English and Spanish.