Keep Kids COVID Safe and Healthy

Dave McConnell, Director of the Center for Afterschool and Expanded Learning

Safely operating afterschool programs where young people can learn, play and socialize is a top priority for the 2021-2022 school year.

Foundations, Inc., is proud to support afterschool educators by curating the most helpful content from trusted organizations, including the Afterschool Alliance, the American Camp Association, and the National Summer Learning Association. Resources will be updated throughout the school year as guidance changes. Support for this project was made possible by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to Foundations, Inc.

Resources and training materials for afterschool, summer learning programs, and camps.

What Does the Science Say About Operating?

What does the science say about operating safe in-person learning experiences for students? This set of resources answers some very specific questions about afterschool programming, such as the current recommendations for physical distancing, and provides guidance for planning and operating out-of-school time programs.

Key Resources

COVID-19 Information for Community, Work, and SchoolThis page from the Centers for Disease Control provides the most current and updated guidance on operating youth programs this school year.

Field Guide for CampsThis comprehensive document from the American Camp Association serves as a practical toolkit for summer programs and camps to implement specific recommendations by the CDC. While there are some camp-specific elements to this document, much of it is applicable to and extremely useful for all out-of-school time programs.


CDC Guidance – June 1, 2021This clip, from a webinar hosted by the ACA in June 2021 and featuring subject matter experts from the CDC, discusses the background behind current camp and youth program guidance.

Communications & External Practices

We’ve learned a lot of lessons over the past year and a half about the importance of clear communication with parents, stakeholders and partners through COVID-19, but this school year is an opportunity to further develop communication practices and policies. This set of resources is meant to help youth programs develop those policies, and provide ideas on how to effectively communicate with staff, students, families and community members.

Key Resources

Afterschool & Summer in the Time of COVID-19 — This web resource from the Afterschool Alliance offers policy information, program survey data, webinars, and community learning hubs to assist programs with responding to COVID-19.

ACA Guidance on Communication This section from the American Camp Association Field Guide provides strategies and best practices for communicating with parents and guardians, staff, and vendors.


Communicating with Staff about VaccinesThis clip, from a webinar hosted by the American Camp Association in May 2021 and featuring experts from the ACN, covers asking staff about vaccination status.

Testing & Screening

A large part of providing a safe, effective program this school year will involve well-developed processes and protocols for COVID-19 screening. The list of resources outlined here are all meant to support effective screening (and testing) of students and staff at all types of programs.

Key Resources

Screening Testing StrategiesTesting, when used in conjunction with other prevention strategies such as screening, can help detect new cases and prevent outbreaks. This guidance from the CDC covers scenarios around testing and diagnosis.

Screening Flow ChartThis flowchart offers guidance and next steps for screening children.


Testing Vaccinated IndividualsThis clip, from a webinar hosted by the American Camp Association in May 2021 and featuring experts from the ACN, covers testing requirements for vaccinated staff members.

Temperature and Symptom CheckingThis clip, from a webinar hosted by the American Camp Association in June 2021 and featuring experts from the ACN, covers current recommendations for temperature screening along with guidance for checking symptoms.

Physical Responses

How do you plan for all of the operational aspects of dealing with COVID-19? This set of resources is focused on best practices for the safe utilization of program spaces and equipment – cleaning and disinfectants, maintenance and physical space ventilation, housing, aquatic facilities, food services, and personal protective equipment.

Key Resources

Cleaning, Disinfecting and Ventilation — This general guidance from the CDC covers cleaning and disinfecting surfaces along with ventilation in different types of buildings.

Surface Cleaning and Disinfection Checklist — A checklist for staff to use when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

Training PowerPoints

Cleaning Guidance PPT — Use this PowerPoint, sourced from ACA guidance, as a framework for training staff on cleaning and disinfection recommendations.


Update on Cleaning Guidance — This clip, from a webinar hosted by the American Camp Association in June 2021, covers current guidance for cleaning and disinfection of shared supplies.

Activity Logistics

A large portion of your planning time for this school year will be spent preparing processes and protocols to keep students and staff safe from COVID-19. But that planning can go to waste if protocol isn’t followed during activities. This set of resources focuses on maintaining safety measures during activities, along with ideas for facilitating fun and engaging activities for students.

Key Resources

ACA Guidance on ActivitiesThis section of the American Camp Association Field Guide covers safe activity facilitation in a variety of settings – indoors, outdoors, during aquatics, and while on field trips – and applies not just to camps but all youth programs.

Discover SummerThis directory, provided by the NSLA, helps parents and guardians find local summer programs.

Training PowerPoints

Best Practices for Activities — Use this PowerPoint, sourced from ACA guidance, as a framework for training staff on best practices for safe activity facilitation.


This section and set of resources focuses on program vaccine protocols and how to communicate those protocols to families and staff, along with key information regarding vaccines to stakeholders and the community.

Key Resources

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit for School Settings and Childcare Programs — This toolkit from the CDC provides program leaders with ideas on planning for vaccination, communicating with staff, and more.

COVID-19 Vaccine PresentationThis presentation can be provided to staff and answers questions about COVID-19 and vaccines. Also available in Spanish.

SEL & Academic Support

There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel of COVID-19, but our students continue to have questions and concerns about the pandemic. Multiple years of disrupted schooling will have lasting effects on students, and it’s our job to help them navigate a return to normalcy. The resources in this section highlight best practices for talking to and engaging with students on COVID-19 and its effects, along with training for staff on how to have those conversations while supporting learning recovery.

Key Resources

COVID-19 Resources for Educators & Out-of-School Time Staff and Social-Emotional Health & Learning ResourcesThis pair of resources from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation is focused on helping educators, students, and families explore and practice new ways to feel calm, confident, and connected by building social-emotional skills together.

COVID 19 Handbook — This report from the U.S. Department of Education summarizes current research about and provides strategies for supporting students in schools.

Summer REcharge 2021 — This resource, developed in partnership with the NSLA, Learning Heroes, and National PTA, offers tips for parents and guardians to provide strong summer learning experiences.

Training PowerPoints

Refocusing on Social and Emotional LearningUse this PowerPoint as a framework for training staff on social and emotional learning this school year.

Maximizing Instructional Time — Use this PowerPoint as a framework for training staff on maximizing instructional time through specific management techniques.

Want to talk more about keeping kids COVID safe this school year?

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    The COVID Response Training Materials have been curated by Foundations, Inc., with leadership from the Afterschool Alliance, the American Camp Association, and the National Summer Learning Association.

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    Foundations, Inc., is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to improving the quality of education for our nation’s children by strengthening the skills of educators. We believe that supporting educators is the best way to improve experiences for our children both in school and afterschool. Our services and resources allow us to meet the unique needs of individuals and organizations, building capacity so that they can learn new and engaging strategies to achieve their goals. We rely on proven practice and evidence-based research to ensure that the advice and tools we provide are effective. Through support services, professional development, and educational resources we are creating a brighter future for every child – every day.

    Learn More

    To expand support for quality afterschool programs, the Afterschool Alliance works with agencies, elected officials, business, 50 state afterschool networks, community leaders, and program providers across the nation. We’re in touch with more than 25,000 afterschool program partners and our publications reach more than 65,000 interested individuals every month. Our main areas of work include:

    • Research & Publications – Covering topics such as STEM learning, best practices, and youth outcomes. Our America After 3PM report is the most comprehensive data available on where young people spend the after school hours.
    • Policy & Advocacy – We are committed to educating policymakers year-round about the value of afterschool and summer learning opportunities. Every spring, we host the Afterschool for All Challenge, convening parents, youth, and afterschool leaders from across the country for trainings and meetings with members of Congress in Washington, D.C.
    • Communications – We generate thousands of positive stories on afterschool every year, reaching tens of millions of people, while also growing and maintaining an active online presence, boasting 34,000 social media followers. Organizing the only nationwide celebration of afterschool programs every October, we help more than 8,000 programs showcase their work and gain recognition during Lights On Afterschool.
    • Field-Building – We provide resources on all topics above to 25,000 afterschool programs, as well as technical assistance to 50 state afterschool networks. Our team also works to place AmeriCorps VISTAs in communities to help advance afterschool.
    Learn More

    The American Camp Association is a community of camp professionals who, for over 100 years, have joined together to share our knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs. Because of our diverse 12,000 plus membership and our exceptional programs, children and adults have the opportunity to learn powerful lessons in community, character-building, skill development, and healthy living — lessons that can be learned nowhere else. As a leading authority in youth development, ACA works to preserve, promote, and improve the camp experience. Our association is committed to helping our members and all camps provide:

    • Camp communities committed to a safe, nurturing environment
    • Caring, competent adult role models
    • Healthy, developmentally appropriate experiences
    • Service to the community and the natural world
    • Opportunities for leadership and personal growth
    • Discovery, experiential education, and learning opportunities
    • Excellence and continuous self-improvement
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    When we nurture and cultivate a child’s natural brilliance and curiosity, there are positive ripple effects throughout every area of life—both for children and their families. The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is a national, non-profit organization focused on the powerful impact of one achievable goal: investing in summer learning to help close the achievement gap. NSLA uses the power of research, advocacy, training, and policy to transform America’s neighborhoods and communities, one child at a time.

    Support for this project was made possible
    by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
    to Foundations, Inc.

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