Across the country, summer programs are adapting to ensure students and their families receive quality summer learning opportunities and critical supports and services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of working families will soon tackle the difficult task of finding high-quality, safe and affordable summer childcare and enrichment solutions as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to worsen the already existing opportunity gap students from low-income families face.

Educators across the country agree that summers matter and “offer opportunities for social and academic growth, but can also put disadvantaged children at risk for worse outcomes,” according to the first cross-sector report, Shaping Summertime Experiences: Opportunities to Promote Healthy Development and Well-Being for Children and Youth, recently released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS).

This story starter aims to provide background on the issue of summer learning and afterschool programs, summer policy considerations, and emerging research to inform your story development around key education issues this summer and beyond. NSLA’s Guidance for 2020 Presidential Candidates on the Importance of Summer was created pre-COVID-19 to inform candidates as they shape their education agendas.