This month has brought waves of additional changes and challenges for students and educators amid another surge of COVID-19. We continue to adapt, evolve, innovate and react as best we can as this new variant hits our communities. Here is a quick update on what’s happening now.
- The majority of Washington high schools where College Possible supports students are maintaining in-person learning. Our coaches will continue to offer a hybrid approach, giving students the option to come to in-person after-school sessions or to receive tech-connected support instead. This has turned out to be a fantastic approach to remain nimble to student needs and changing pandemic situations. Coaches have been able to differentiate their offerings between in-person and virtual as best fits for their cohort and still be able to offer strong near-peer support with all of these tools at their disposal.
- Some schools as we write this are having to cancel school days because of various reasons like staff shortages, positive cases, etc. In those events, we are following district and school guidance and canceling our in-person offerings as well. In these instances, students are being contacted and supported virtually until we get the green light from the schools to resume in-person programming.
- School districts are offering testing for students, staff and the school community. If you’ve tried to find a COVID test in the last few weeks, you might know that they are hard to come by. Everywhere is sold out of the at-home tests. Testing sites are being booked up as soon as new appointments are released. Having additional testing capacity offered by schools is a helpful tool in fighting the spread of COVID.
- Our college success team has made the decision to again provide student support completely virtual this quarter due to colleges and universities reevaluating how they’ll be delivering courses. It is our hope that come spring quarter, we’ll be able to have coaches on select campuses to meet with students in-person.
“The health and safety of our students, AmeriCorps coaches and staff remains our top priority. College Possible is in the process of reevaluating our own procedures and requirements around COVID and making sure those remain in line with current CDC guidance. School districts have diligent safety protocols in place to mitigate spread (read more about what Seattle Public Schools is doing as an example), they are working to distribute vaccinations and trying hard to keep students and communities healthy and safe.” –Lisa Garcia-Hanson, senior program director said.
We hope that these changes and adaptations are temporary and that our high school coaches can get back to holding consistent in-person after-school sessions with students. We hope that our college team can resume meeting with students face-to-face on college campuses. But if the last couple of years has taught us anything, it’s that we don’t know what the future holds. What we do know is that we can’t wait. Supporting students to stay on track with their education goals is more challenging and more important than ever.