Announcement from Thursday, August 26, 2020

 

Information and Resources for Families Searching for School-Age Child Care Programs During COVID-19

 

Information and Resources for School-Age Child Care Programs for the 2020-21 School Year

Licensed school-age child care (SACC) programs should be prepared to support students when local schools move to remote or blended learning throughout the 2020-21 school year due to the pandemic.  Below are considerations for school-age programs regarding what schools and families may be expecting from SACC programs this school year.

Guidance for non-licensed community-based entities planning to care for or supervise school-age children during the 2020-2021 school year is available in this August 26 announcement (link coming soon).

  • Have Wi-Fi available for students so they can complete online school work within the facility. Ensure there is enough bandwidth and internet speed to allow for all children to engage in online learning.
  • Have staff in school-age classrooms who are comfortable with technology to facilitate and support online learning.
  • Establish policies for children to bring and use technology in your facility (ex. laptops, iPads).
  • Partner with families and share how you can support their child’s remote learning in your facility.
    • Program staff should understand which academic activities are required, which are optional, and which have specific timing (such as for live-stream content) or equipment needs, and then build daily and weekly schedules to coordinate the students’ engagement with online learning or printed educational materials.
  • Decide how you will group children and what spaces will be used for children who will be at your facility only 2-3 days per week due to their public, private or religious school implementing blended instruction.
    • To minimize the spread of the disease, classes should include the same group of children and staff each day.
  • Provide developmentally appropriate recreation and physical activities while maintaining distance between students and staff, as well as a balance of quiet and active periods and remote learning. Background noise should be kept to a minimum when students are online or engaged in other forms of remote learning.
  • As public conversations around COVID-19 increase, children may worry about themselves, their family, and friends getting ill. Staff play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. The CDC has created guidance to help adults talk to children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease.
  • Children may have additional special needs that are not typically or easily addressed in a school-age setting, and providers may need to build partnerships with other community organizations to meet the needs of every child. There will need to be flexibility and significant communication on all sides to promote what is best for each student.

Public schools post their Health and Safety plans, which includes the types of instructional models they will be using, to their websites. However, due to the evolving pandemic, plans may change weekly. If you would like more information regarding changing policies, schedules, or opportunities to coordinate support for school-age children, contact schools directly and ask to speak with the Pandemic Coordinator.  Links to the Health and Safety Plans submitted by public schools to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) are accessible through the PDE Health and Safety Plan Map.

Resources for School-Age Child Care Programs

 

Additional School-Age Resources