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Most schools around the country are still scrambling to get into this school year. States and local districts are continuously updating their decisions — a trend that we’ll see throughout the academic year. That creates an enormous uncertainty not only for schools but also for the out-of-school time field.

In previous pieces, I have discussed the difficulties that teachers face in re-engaging students to successfully transition back to in-person, virtual or hybrid learning. Although it is understandable to focus resources on the formal education system, the out-of-school time (OST) field had been entirely neglected.

In many areas of the country, youth clubs, sports, performing and creative arts programs came to a screeching halt at the same time as school buildings closed. This meant that students in general not only experienced isolation and limited interactions with teachers and classmates, but often were robbed of the all-important socializing and learning experiences in extended education settings. …


Gil G. Noam

Founder of The PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience at McLean Hospital, Faculty Member at Harvard Medical School. All opinions are my own.

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