Mayor London Breed Announces Community Learning Hubs to Support Distance Learning and Extension of Emergency Child and Youth Care for COVID-19 Frontline Workers
Community Learning Hubs will support approximately 5,000-6,000 children and youth in San Francisco as distance learning begins this fall
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced that San Francisco will transform facilities around the city into supervised Community Learning Hubs to support distance learning for high need San Francisco Unified School District students starting this fall. Additionally, the City will extend its emergency child and youth care program to support families during COVID-19.
The Department of Children, Youth and Their Families (DCYF) will launch Community Learning Hubs on September 14th at more than 40 sites across the city including recreation centers, branch libraries, cultural centers, and several community based organization sites, pending approval from local and state health officials. DCYF will partner with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (RPD), Public Library (SFPL), community-based agencies and other City departments to provide in-person support to students, while prioritizing children and youth with the highest need. The Community Learning Hubs are designed to support children and youth from low-income households; residents of HOPE SF, public housing, and single room occupancy hotels; youth experiencing homelessness; foster youth; and English Language Learners.
“Many young people in San Francisco are struggling with being away from their friends and the support systems they have outside of their homes, and some students don’t have the space or resources to successfully participate in distance learning from home,” said Mayor Breed. “It will take a village to address the wide range of learning needs for our City’s children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Community Learning Hubs will provide a much-needed resource for our most vulnerable students. I want to thank DCYF, the Recreation and Park Department, the Library, and our community partners for coming together and creating this innovative solution so that students still get the support and education that they need.”
The Hubs will provide full-day, in-person programming and will support children and youth’s access to technology for distance learning and provide additional enrichment programming including STEAM, literacy, and nature-based outdoor play and education. The Hubs will offer social-emotional support services, healthy meals and snacks, and recreation and physical activities. The Hubs will provide safe and digitally connected spaces within walking distance from children’s homes that will be staffed by community based organization providers with strong track records of implementing high-quality and culturally competent programming.
Community Learning Hubs will begin enrollment on August 15th and will continue until September 4th, 2020 using a centralized registration system. Enrollment will prioritize connecting high need children and youth to a Community Learning Hub in their neighborhood. DCYF will work closely with HOPE SF, the Human Services Agency and other City and School District partners to identify children and youth in need of support and focus to help them continue to learn and thrive.
“Understanding the learning loss impacts and how best to support students’ social and emotional needs after the huge disruption of COVID-19 will be essential,” said Maria Su, DCYF Executive Director. “Our City’s children, youth and families are facing so much uncertainty and instability such as greater food insecurity, loss of family income and fear of catching the virus themselves. We are here to support our City’s children, youth and families by keeping them safe and connected while at home and in the community.”
In addition, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will offer Emergency Child and Youth Care spaces at five recreation centers to serve the children of healthcare workers and City employees serving as Disaster Service Workers. Programming will begin August 31st at the Glen Park, Richmond, Sunset, Hamilton, and Potrero Hill recreation centers. Spots in the program will be invitation only and based on need, with priority given to families who enrolled in the program in the spring.
In March, Mayor Breed announced the creation of the emergency youth and child care program, to support families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency care program provides youth and child care for frontline employees who are working in San Francisco. Between March 16th and June 5th, the emergency care program served 513 youth, operating up to 13 hours a day to serve the extended shifts of healthcare workers. Students received assistance with distance learning and enjoyed art, sports, and outdoor adventures with trained Rec and Park staff. Rec and Park staff worked closely with health officials to comply with each updated Health Order, including social distancing, masks, disinfection of surfaces, health screening and temperature taking.
This summer, RPD, DCYF, and the Office of Early Care and Education have led the City’s effort to help families connect with child and youth care services and summer camp programs. Over 1,300 youth have participated in the City’s summer camps, exploring nature, creativity and STEAM in neighborhoods around the City. Rec and Park prevented the spread of COVID-19 through limiting camp capacity, restricting campers and staff to small cohorts, and by practicing enhanced cleaning and social distancing.
“We are grateful to continue offering fun, safe, high quality care for children and peace of mind for parents by partnering with DCYF on Community Learning Hubs, as well as extending our Emergency Child and Youth Care program,” said Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “Our recreation professionals have done an incredible job not only helping children access distance learning but meeting their needs for socialization, recreation, and loving care.”
“San Francisco Public Library is ready to support families during this challenging time,” stated City Librarian Michael Lambert. “Libraries are sanctuaries of learning, and we look forward to welcoming students through our doors and doing our part to ensure a successful academic year.”
The health, safety and continuity of learning for children and youth is one of San Francisco’s highest priorities. Emergency Child and Youth Care will continue to operate under existing Health Order guidance, while Community Learning Hubs will operate under updated health guidance and new Health Order currently under development by the Department of Public Health.
In April, Mayor Breed announced a partnership between the City, School District, and nonprofit organizations to provide internet connectivity support students in San Francisco who lack home internet access, including the deployment of up to 25 WiFi “SuperSpots.” Since March 2020, SFUSD has distributed more than 13,000 Chromebooks and 3,500 hotspots, with a focus on 3rd to 12th grade students for distance learning. The City’s Department of Technology has connected more than 1,300 public housing units where students live to the internet through the Fiber to Housing program. The City plans to continue expanding Wifi access for low-income residents, with particular focus on students to support learning.
Additionally, in partnership with the Human Rights Commission, the San Francisco Housing Authority, and HOPE SF community anchors, HOPE SF has distributed close to 500 laptops across all four housing sites. HOPE SF continues to work with partners to ensure students have access to the resources they need for distance learning.
For more information on the City’s Emergency Child and Youth Care Programs and the Community Learning Hubs, visit dcyf.org/care.