Weekly COVID call: Peer Sharing on Cross-Sector Partnerships on School Reopening

Our July 30th weekly COVID-19 peer sharing call focused on opportunities for cross-sector planning between schools, community organizations, and child care in the school reopening conversations.  

Some themes discussed included:

  • Educational inequities that will happen or be amplified when some parents pursue options like private tutors and “learning pods” outside of the school system.
  • Making sure our youngest children and infants are prioritized for care if child
    care facilities have to shift attention to providing care for K-12 age kids.
  • Taking the child care needs of working parents/caregivers into consideration
     in school reopening and remote learning plans.
  • Working with intermediaries and community agencies/organizations to
    provide safe spaces for students to participate in remote learning, and provide other types of services/assistance (meals, social emotional support).

Examples of cross-sector coordination around needs of kids and families in school re-openings:

The Heinz Endowments, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania are part of a public-private partnership with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (Pennsylvania) to design and implement a “learning pod” model hosted by community partners — many of whom would typically provide out-of-school time services to students — to provide safe spaces for children during the school day to take part in remote learning, but also receive meals, tutoring, and other care as needed.  Partners are also working to address: How to support child care providers, financially and operationally, who may need to pivot to providing services for school-age children; and how to ensure young children and infants still have child care if a shift to serving school-age children occurs. 

The Hawai’I State Legislature, with strong coordinated advocacy from unions, construction, nonprofits, families, and philanthropy, recently passed a bill that expands the public pre-k from just 4-year-olds to all 3 and 4-year-olds. However, with little state funds available to fund the expansion, the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation and Kamehameha Schools along with several vital private funders, are stepping up to support initial implementation of the bill until tax income can support long-term implementation.

The City of San Fransico plans to transform facilities, including libraries and recreation centers, around the city into 40 supervised Community Learning Hubs where low-income kids, those in foster care, and those learning English as a second language can come to get in-person instruction and support.  The Hubs will provide full-day in-person access to distance learning, and provide social-emotional support services, healthy meals and snacks, recreation and physical activities and additional enrichment programming. 

The City of Austin, Texas passed a resolution directing city agencies to work with child care agencies to address the current and imminent challenges facing child care, and supervision, and support for children and youth brought about by COVID-19, including making recommendations for measures to stabilize the local child care system as an essential component of the City’s economic infrastructure.

New Related Resources from the Urban Institute:

If you have examples of public-private partnerships working to coordinate between early care and learning and K-12 education as schools navigate reopening, please consider sharing them with ECFC.