High costs, staffing shortages mean waitlists in after-school programs
Staffing shortages and rising costs have kept about a quarter of the nation’s operating after-school programs from returning to pre-pandemic capacity, according to a survey of the programs conducted for the AfterSchool Alliance, a non-profit advocacy organization. About half of the nation’s afterschool programs have a waiting list.
Although 94% of the after-school programs that were open before the pandemic have reopended, almost all of the providers are concerned about the ability to hire and retain staff.
After-school programs provide academic enrichment, time for students to interact with peers and build social skills, opportunities for physical activity, time to develop life skills and a chance to talk with peers or staff members.
“After-school programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, give working parents peace of mind, and help students recover from the isolation and trauma the pandemic caused,” said Jodi Grant, Afterschool Alliance executive director. “Ensuring that all students can attend should be a priority for lawmakers and educators because these programs are essential to students’ recovery and to their success in school and in life.”
Grant said that only 19% of the after-school programs surveyed have been able to access Covid-relief funds.