21st Century Community Learning Centers Restart Support Guide

21st Century Community Learning Centers Restart Support Guide

Over the past few months, the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program providers have learned and practiced unique ways to address student needs. Out-of-school time/afterschool programs have been required to rethink their delivery services, enrichment and parent and family support. In today’s environment, as some school buildings are reopening for use, students and staff must engage differently. The 21st CCLC programs, like schools and districts, must strive to connect with students and families in ways that are beneficial and meaningful. 21st CCLC programs remain an important component in supporting the families and students who need it most. 

Multiple models are being used for a redesigned school experience to comply with health standards, safety and physical distancing requirements. Afterschool programs can support each model. Across the various restart models, out-of-school time providers must ensure that students have positive social interactions with adults and peers in safe and supportive environments that value youth engagement and learning.


The purpose of this document is to support 21st CCLC program providers in planning the implementation
of a restart plan for the 2020-2021 program year. Planning for the restart must align with the program’s district plan, 21st CCLC Regulatory Guidance  and the Ohio Department of Education Planning Guide for Ohio Schools and Districts.


The Office for Improvement and Innovation prioritizes the support of 21st CCLC programs and is committed to:
  • Supporting the social and emotional health of participating students, staff and families.
  • Ensuring regional support for social and emotional learning.
  • Ensuring regional support through professional development and advocacy.
  • Allowing a one-time carryover of FY20 unpaid funds. The carryover amount will be consolidated into the FY21 allocation after the FY20 Final Expenditure Report has been approved. All funds must be spent by June 30, 2021.
  • Defining attendance requirements/participation requirements (virtual).

21st CCLC Program Restart Plans

Out-of-school time programs are an asset that bring unique strengths and opportunities enhancing all three 21st CCLC program models: site-based or school-based, remote and blended learning. 21st CCLC programs funded during school year 2020-2021 are expected to operate with a plan to serve students and families.
All programs shall submit a restart plan prior to the program’s extended restart date of Nov. 2, 2020. Fall Restart Program Plans will provide basic information informing the Department of changes to programming for this year. Grantees will select one of the following program types at the start of the plan: 
  • Plan 1- Site-based or school-based:  The program assures that it operates as indicated in its initial application and continuation plan with face-to-face programming.
  • Plan 2 - Remote:  The program serves students and families virtually.
  • Plan 3 - Blended:  The program includes a combination of remote and face-to-face programming.
Link to Fall Restart Program Plan.

Program Requirements and Expectations

Start and End Dates

The Department requires that all subrecipients commence programming on or before Nov. 2, 2020. Programs shall end no earlier than April 17, 2020. If there is difficulty getting started, please contact the Office for Improvement and Innovation for support. 

Hours of Operation

All 21st CCLC programs are required to serve students and parents during the 2020-2021 school year. Programs not offering services will not be permitted to serve as a grantee this year and allocated funds for the year will be returned to the Department. The grantee can utilize funds for the following school year if programming resumes.   


Regular attendance is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as a 21st CCLC participant that attended at least 30 days during the year. This definition has not changed.
  • Site-based or school-based programs that serve any elementary school students (K-5, K-6 or K-7/8) operate at least 10 hours per week. Middle and high school programs are required to operate at least eight hours per week.
  • Remote and blended learning programs that serve elementary school students (K-5, K-6 or K-7/8) operate at least six hours per week. Middle and high school programs are required to operate at least six hours per week.
Programs must maintain records of attendance in case of a future audit. Please save all virtual attendance records for four years. Consider using one of these methods to organize and record attendance:
  1. Require all students to register and receive permission from parents/guardians for programs online before joining any virtual meeting (Some 21st CCLC programs use Google Forms to facilitate this process).
  2. Make sure students use their first and last names upon registration/logging in instead of using nicknames. If students are unable to change their own names in a platform, use name games/icebreakers to capture who is participating in the program.
  3. Set up a web conference system to collect attendance automatically. The following tools allow for this approach:
  4. If the system does not have the ability to collect attendance data, have students leave a comment in the chat box and save the conversation.
All programs should strive to reach their estimated daily student attendance provided in the Fall Restart Program Plan. Programs should work to offer innovative and engaging activities to recruit and retain students in the targeted population. Depending on the needs of students and families, attendance may fluctuate. For more information, see the Data Collection section of this document.

Program Monitoring and Evaluation

The Department’s 21st CCLC team follows a multi-tiered approach to monitoring and evaluation.
Desk Reviews – Programs in years 1, 2 and 4 of their grant cycles will receive a desk review for FY21.
Virtual On-site Monitoring – Programs in years 2 and 4 will receive a virtual monitoring visit. Virtual student interviews and walk-throughs may be a part of the virtual visit where possible. FY20 programs where a 21st CCLC Regional Consultant was unable to complete an on-site monitoring visit in FY20 (2019-2020 School Year) will be scheduled for a virtual on-site visit during FY21. If a program has a virtual site visit scheduled prior to Dec. 18, 2021, the documentation should be updated in the Compliance System prior to the scheduled Compliance and Performance Assessment (CAPA) virtual on-site visit.
Fiscal Desk Reviews – Programs in years 1, 2 and 4 of their grant cycles will receive a fiscal desk review. Evidence and documentation of actual expenditures by object code are required. Additional invoices, receipts and other associated contracts may be requested as required by the fiscal desk review to ensure allowable use of funds. 
Professional Development – The Center for Out-of-School Advancement (COSA) serves as Ohio’s professional development support for 21st CCLC programs. COSA will continue to offer regional virtual training and mentoring. For more information about COSA visit its website at www.cosaohio.org. For direct support, please contact the appropriate regional mentor listed below:
Mark Noftz - Director
Theresa Barnett - Northwest Regional Mentor
Jamond Foree - Southwest and Southeast Regional Mentor
Sheila James - Central and Southeast Regional Mentor
Stacy Ward-Braxton - Northeast Regional Mentor
Data Collection – Reporting for the U.S. Department of Education within the 21APR Data Reporting System has not changed. Therefore, requirements have not changed. In general, grantees must collect information related to attendance and participation, hours of operation, staffing and implemented program activities.
Evaluation and Annual Reporting - Logic Models are due Dec. 4, 2020. Please use the Department's Template. All logic models must be completed using the template and submitted to LogicModel@education.ohio.gov. Each 21st CCLC program must complete an annual report and submit it to EndofYear@education.ohio.gov by Sept. 3, 2021. No statewide evaluator has been selected for this school year, but additional information is forthcoming. 

Virtual Programming

21st CCLC programs should consider innovative virtual programming and services. These types of programs should be interactive and project or goal-oriented sessions. They must serve to achieve student and parent development goals. Posting a blog or creating another type of asynchronous platform is not an allowable use of funds and will not be approved as student and family engagement. For example, creating a Facebook page or group and encouraging students and families to read or watch a video would not be considered quality, interactive engagement. However, an allowable expenditure would be to create a page where students and families are participating in virtual field trips, learning about other cultures, financial literacy tips and more.

 Best Practices for Safe Virtual Programming

  • Choose a suitable platform from a reputable company that is registered and operated in the United States. Take time to learn about the user data collected by the platform and where the data is stored. This ensures that participant information is not being used elsewhere or sold to third parties.
  • Select one or two platforms to use exclusively and ensure that families have viewed the privacy policy, terms and conditions. Confirm that families have granted permission for their student to actively engage.
  • Prohibit staff from meeting with students one-on-one and require two staff members to co-facilitate activities.
  • Maintain control of the video conferencing features. Program staff should be able to control participants’ ability to mute/unmute, share screens and enable/disable private chat between participants.

Community-Based Programs

Community-based, out-of-school time programs (for example: Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs and faith-based organizations) for school-age students must operate under the School-Aged Licensure requirements. If the organization’s location has been closed, the grantee’s first step is to contact the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) for guidance. Next, they should choose a location where they can serve the students proposed in their initial grant application. After both the Ohio Department of Education and ODJFS have been informed, the grantee must work with the school or school district regarding effective recruitment efforts and other support strategies. 

School-Based Programs

School-based programs that are operating face-to-face must adhere to school building procedures and safeguards. 21st Century program staff must consult with school leadership to determine allowable space and safety practices suitable for programming.
School-Based Programs Serving Multiple Feeder Schools: To the extent practicable, out-of-school time programs serving students from multiple feeder schools must make every effort to align health and safety guidelines. Programs must:
  • Maintain stable groups of students;
  • Provide common health and safety protocols that meet requirements; and
  • Provide supplemental services to support varied school instructional models (site-based or school-based, remote and blended learning) and schedules. 

Supplement not Supplant

Adherence to the supplement, not supplant, provision is still relevant for all program configurations. Grantees should be aware that awarded funds must be used only to supplement, not supplant, any federal, state or local dollars available to support programs and activities allowable under the 21st CCLC program. This means that funding may not be used to replace existing funding for the same activity or service targeting the same population.


Students look forward to a nutritious snack, and for some programs, a meal after school. The expectation remains that 21st CCLC grantees must make nutritious snacks available daily to students during out-of-school time, including remote and blended learning programs. Program staff should think of safe, creative and innovative ways to provide a daily snack to students. Although a nutritious snack is a program requirement, the cost of the snack and any other food items is not an allowable expense under the 21st CCLC grant. This includes food items served during family activities. For more detailed information regarding the After School Care Snack Program, visit the After School Care Snack Program webpage.
Child and Adult Care Food Programs provide meal reimbursements for licensed or approved child and adult care centers to help promote understanding of nutrition in overall health and develop positive food-related attitudes and behaviors. For more detailed information, visit the Child and Adult Care Food Program webpage.

Health and Safety

The health and safety requirements for schools are included in the Ohio Department of Education Reset and Restart: Planning Guide for Ohio Schools and Districts

Recommended Planning Considerations

  • Participate in building level or district level restart planning sessions. Out-of-school time support is more critical than ever. Be sure 21st CCLC leadership is directly involved in lending a hand to build community partnerships with traditional and nontraditional organizations.
  • Ensure the integrity of the 21st CCLC program by keeping the purpose of the program in mind and working towards the goals and performance measures for reading, math, science, youth development and parent engagement.
  • Communicate with parents and youth prior to reopening programs to communicate safety information and key programmatic information. Garner family support where applicable.
  • Prioritize additional supports for in-person services to foster better and more equitable opportunities for students who are underserved and in need of additional support (academic, social and emotional and accommodations for students with disabilities).
  • Consider utilizing other spaces in the community in addition to school buildings (such as public libraries, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs/YWCAs, daycares, faith-based organizations and museums) to provide in-person support, when permitted by school administration.
  • Consider enlisting others from the community (including youth workers, social service providers, daycare staff, tribal organizations, community volunteers and parents) to work with teachers and other school staff to foster more learning and connection.
  • Assess where additional capacity and support may be needed from external community partners to support student learning and youth development.
  • Engage partners in the planning process as soon as possible. Out-of-school time providers are professionals and experts in their field. They excel in creating innovative solutions with flexible models to support student learning.
  • Connect and share ideas. Many programs have been serving students and families as emergency care providers since the beginning of the pandemic and throughout the summer and can bring expertise with health and safety protocols. They may already have implemented successful approaches that could be replicated.


Many grantees will need to adjust program schedules, plans and approaches to delivery even after an initial Fall Restart Program Plan to accommodate school(s) fall schedules. Please consult the appropriate regional consultant for program changes and support. Be sure to include all programmatic and fiscal changes within the Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan (CCIP) history log. The 21st CCLC regional consultants are:

Ludia Dorelien, Central Region   


Charlotte Jones-Ward, Southeast and Northwest Regions


Charmaine Davis-Bey, Northeast and Southwest   


Please refer to the regional map below to identify program locations and assigned regions.

Nita M. Lowey 21st CCLC Grant Recipients

21st CCLC Blog

Tabitha Palmer, Data Coordinator, will be communicating with all grantees throughout the fiscal year. She will be utilizing the 21st CCLC Blog to share resources, updates and announcements pertaining to program needs. All program managers should be signed up to receive notifications. Those who currently are not receiving notifications may sign up here. For additional support, please contact Tabitha Palmer at Tabitha.Palmer@education.ohio.gov.

General Program Operations

General best practices for program operations should be considered by all 21st CCLC grantees. These guidelines are for consideration and are not requirements. Grantees are encouraged to consider these practices as part of the planning process.

  • Review the Ohio Department of Education Reset and Restart: Planning Guide for Ohio Schools and Districts document.
  • Create a plan to monitor supply inventory to thoroughly clean and disinfect all buildings, buses, equipment and other surfaces prior to students and/or staff returning and after return, using Centers for Disease Control,​ ​Environmental Protection Agency​, and ​Occupational Safety and Health Administration​ guidelines.
  • Review and revise safety plans and drills: fire, man-made disaster, natural disaster (e.g., tornado) and bus evacuation.
  • Review personal wellness inventory and order necessary supplies, such as:
    • Touch-free thermometers;
    • Sanitizers/cleanser, hand soap and tissues;
    • Touch-free trash cans, receptacles and other supplies.
  • Review an alternative command structure if administrative and/or key employees are unable to work.
  • Review policies and procedures included in handbooks to provide more flexibility and remove punitive measures for absences when there is determined illness, a localized outbreak or exposure to a contagious disease.
  • Review staff daily schedules to provide adequate time for handwashing, sanitizing desks and other good hygiene practices.
  • Review and revise relevant human resource policies and handbooks for clarity to address attendance issues related to potential COVID-19 exposure, illness and concerns. Keep in mind any emergency laws that are in effect and are applicable to schools (for example, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act).
  • Review and revise job descriptions for appropriate duties during future school closures.

Fiscal Considerations

Ensure restart plans align with current 21st CCLC allowable use of funds. If budget revisions are necessary based on program adjustments, a justification within the CCIP history log is required. For inquiries regarding budget revisions and fiscal management, contact Nina Pace, Financial Program Manager, at Nina.Pace@education.ohio.gov

Administrative Practices

  • Review procedures for buildings to prepare and provide health reports as needed.
    • Track reasons for student and staff absences.
    • Report positive cases of COVID-19 (one or more) to the local department of health for additional closing guidance and contact tracing.
  • Review and revise the district/school’s professional development plan to provide relevant training for certified staff, non-certified staff and substitute teachers. Suggestions include:
    • Plan for training on symptoms of COVID-19, prevention techniques, etc.
    • Signs of mental health stress in students and staff, trauma-informed practices best practices to address social, emotional and behavioral wellness.
    • Train custodial staff on effective methods of cleaning and disinfecting work and play areas and the time schedules for cleaning.
  • Review and/or revise budgets as needed.
  • Review Ohio Educational Directory System’s 21st CCLC roles and update accordingly.
  • Review policies and procedures to address volunteers, visitors, collegiate interns and deliveries.

Frequently Asked Questions 


1. What data will grantees be required to collect related to the implementation of virtual programming?

Reporting requirements have not changed. Grantees must collect information related to attendance and participation, hours of operation, staffing and implemented program activities. More information about the format and method of reporting data is forthcoming. Program managers shall ensure all students are in the proper sessions by taking regular attendance. 

2. May 21st CCLC programs continue to pay staff during a time when schools are closed as well as during the period that schools are implementing virtual learning?

Yes, all 21st CCLC program staff may continue to be paid with 21st CCLC grant funds for work aligned to their approved program goals, including remote work. Grantees must maintain records of the hours worked and the work performed. Hours should remain commensurate to program needs. In addition, keep in mind the federal “supplement, not supplant” provisions apply to all expenditures (for example, 21st CCLC funds may only be used to supplement existing federal, state and local sources of funds, and should not be used to supplant or replace them).

3. Where can programs find help with online curriculum, student and family engagement strategies, and innovative best practices in online learning?

Programs should contact the appropriate Regional COSA Mentor for support.

4. Where can programs find answers to questions not listed here? 

Please send additional questions to the appropriate Ohio Department of Education Regional Consultant or to Shannon Teague, Assistant Director, Office for Improvement and Innovation  Shannon.teague@education.ohio.gov, or Ludia Dorelien, Ludia.Dorelien2@education.ohio.gov.

Last Modified: 7/16/2021 11:25:15 AM