Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, Susan Wild, Don Young, Suzanne Bonamici, Jeff Van Drew and Dwight Evans introduced the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coronavirus Relief Act of 2020, a bill to help expand access to child care services through the remainder of the COVID-19 emergency. Because of the health challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many school districts will provide academic instruction through remote or hybrid learning models this school year. Estimates suggest that this fall, nearly 24 million workers with children ages 6 to 14 will have no at-home child care option.
This bill creates new, short-term, flexible grant programs for 21st Century Community Learning Centers – the only federally funded initiative dedicated to supporting afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs – to expand their operations to include programs during school hours.
These learning centers, typically operated out of Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, schools or other community centers, have existing partnerships with the school districts they serve. This legislation would leverage those partnerships to create options for families and cultivate environments in which K-12 students could receive additional academic support, school-aged children could receive safe care during the day, and working parents would be able to return to and stay in the workforce.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives, and our school districts need immediate relief. We need to give school districts maximum flexibility to access relief funds so that our community can support students, faculty and staff. Congress must ensure that our school districts can provide the best quality of education during these turbulent times,” Fitzpatrick said. “This bipartisan legislation will give 21st Century Community Learning Centers short-term flexibility for the upcoming school year to provide services to K-12 students during traditional school hours. Every student deserves a quality education, and this bill will help our students receive the academic support and resources they need to reach their full potential.”
This legislation is endorsed by the Afterschool Alliance, After-School All-Stars, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Classroom Inc., Girls Inc., National Association of Elementary School Principals, Forum for Youth Investment and National AfterSchool Association.