The summer of 2020 was an extraordinary one. While families found their summer plans disrupted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, summer programs did their best to adapt to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and remain open for their communities but struggled to meet the demand for their services. Back-to-school season is shaping up to be one for the history books as well.

Though school reopening plans include a mix of distance learning, in-person, and hybrid schedules as the country heads into the fall, a new survey of parents finds that parents feel ready to support their children’s new educational needs. At the same time, parents express concerns about the new circumstances created by COVID-19, and a greater appreciation of school-day and afterschool educators— 3 in 4 agree that the experience of the pandemic has made them appreciate school teachers and afterschool program providers more than ever, with working parents more likely to agree.

After six months in a COVID-19 world, with the continued uncertainty of when things will return to normal, this brief, Preparing for Back to School and Navigating Summer in the Time of COVID-19, combines findings from a survey of parents along with the second in a series of surveys of afterschool and summer providers to monitor the state of the afterschool field. The Wave 2 provider survey of 1,047 afterschool and summer program providers, conducted between July 20 and August 31, finds that providers are growing increasingly worried about their program’s long-term sustainability.

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