Statement of Safe Reopening

Message from Community Works:

Updated on September 9, 2020 – Community Works is made up of young people, parents, former students, educators, New Orleanians, transplants, artists, organizers, writers, and people from all walks of life and professions, all working around the same goal, to increase equitable access to innovative programs that engage young people.

Community Works is a change-making organization.  We will continue to create innovative education solutions for our families and be part of the solution to help our young people get through this year and continue to thrive.

Since quarantine was mandated in New Orleans in March, Community Works has prioritized two things, keeping young people engaged in enrichment programs, and keeping our program staff employed. We developed systems for instructors to create and submit virtual curriculum and video lessons, reaching around 1,000 students. We have distributed meals, computers, internet resources, and arts supplies to families and Instructors. We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish in these last 5 months. The lessons learned along the way have directly influenced how CW programming continues to evolve during this time.

Our community is diverse and we aim to meet as many needs as possible. That is why Community Works is rolling out several options for our young people this Fall.

  1. Programming – we will offer online afterschool programs that follow a similar model to our regular in-person afterschool programs.
  2. Affordable small learning pod programming – We will offer subsidized pod learning  with groups of up to 8 students in person. Pod teaching is becoming increasingly popular around the country as a solution for the lack of in-person engagement this year and for working parents who can’t be with their kids to help them navigate distance learning. Community Works will offer this programming at a reduced rate to help prevent the achievement gap from further widening during the pandemic.
  3. 1-1 virtual tutoring sessions –  We will offer individualized homework help and our signature Community Works’ enrichment activities.
  4. Small, pod-based childcare for teachers who facilitate virtual learning from their school buildings.
  5. In-person afterschool / in-school programming in coordination with partners and family needs that match the Phase restrictions of number of individuals within one space.

We acknowledge that the small in-person options above are not entirely safe and are merely safer than students returning to crowded school buildings. For those “safer” options, Community Works will provide all cleaning supplies and train all program staff on required procedures and policies to maintain social and physical distancing. We will also provide paid professional developments in curriculum support, virtual facilitation, technology, working with students with additional needs, racial equity, and mental health support. Additionally, we will offer COVD related PTO and hazard pay for Instructors who choose to volunteer for our small group in-person roles. Our safety protocols can be found in the COVID Release and Policies Document.

Community Works supports teachers who are organizing conversations about what will keep students and teachers safe while we navigate the Covid-19 pandemic. These teachers are bravely advocating for virtual programming for the fall 2020 school semester. We believe that all educators should have the option of teaching from a distance until the Covid-19 transmission rates dictate that it is safe to return to a physical school setting. No one should have to lose their jobs and livelihoods because they are trying to protect themselves and their families from sickness during a pandemic. We also support and applaud our courageous teachers who are volunteering to work in some of our safer, small group in-person options this Fall. They have decided that they are willing to take on additional personal risk in order to help our young people continue to grow and thrive and to help working families that do not have the option of staying home with their kids.

Before the pandemic and beyond, Community Works recognizes that people are what make our programs impactful.  We’ve been uplifted and moved by the spirit of our families and the amazing work of our program staff and partner organizations. We knew this already – our community is resilient. Please contact us with any questions, ideas, suggestions for moving forward.

-The CW Team