Youth Perspectives on Virtual After-School Programming During the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Candace Evans Georgia State University
  • Renita Moore Georgia State University
  • Scot Seitz Georgia State University
  • Isatou Jatta Georgia State University
  • Gabriel P. Kuperminc Georgia State University
  • Christopher C. Henrich Georgia State University



afters-chool programs, virtual programming, 21st CCLC, program participation


After-school programs provide a range of support for students. During school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many after-school programs were also forced to close or to find new ways to provide services to youth, such as through virtual after-school programming. We surveyed 244 youth who participated in virtual after-school programs about their access to virtual programming as well as their experiences. We considered their pre-closure experiences as well. We also surveyed 8 program directors of after-school programs who were providing virtual programming. We found that Internet access hindered the ability of more than 1 in 4 students to access the programs. Pre-closure program experiences, including ongoing relationships with program staff and positive peer relationships contributed to more positive experiences with virtual programming. Whenever students were able to access the programs, they generally reported positive experiences. This work has implications for after-school program providers, parents, and policymakers.


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