COVID-19 response FAQs
FAQs for Parents, caregivers and guardians in response to COVID-19
At the outbreak of COVID-19, City Year rapidly transitioned to virtual service, working closely with our school partners to best support student learning and teacher needs during the spring of 2020.
As schools re-opened for the 2021-2022 school year, we have been able to adapt to the individual needs of our district and school partners. In some ways, our service right now looks very different at each of our 29 U.S. sites, ranging from modified, in-person service to virtual instruction or a hybrid of the two approaches.
The number one goal, however, is the same, wherever City Year AmeriCorps members serve—to connect with students every day.
We seek to:
Help students feel a sense of belonging to their school community; encourage them to attend class and do their best; nurture consistent, stable and caring relationships; and contribute to positive, responsive and joyful learning environments where everyone in the school community can flourish—students, teachers and City Year AmeriCorps members.
When young people’s social-emotional needs are met, including by having developmental relationships with caring adults, they are better able to learn, achieve and reach their goals.
Every day, City Year AmeriCorps members are partnering with teachers to provide students with instruction appropriate to the school environment where they serve.
In places where our partner school buildings remain closed, we have paused in-person service for all City Year AmeriCorps members and instead deliver virtual service and programming, which could include creating virtual spaces for students to reflect on instructional content, leading class warm-ups and small group break-out sessions online, holding video tutoring sessions and supporting communication with students and parents.
In locations where some in-person instruction is happening, AmeriCorps members provide in-person support, with City Year-provided protection equipment and in accordance with local health and safety protocols. Depending on the location, the health and safety of our corps and staff, and the needs of our school partners, we will continue to assess the best way to support students and schools.
“I simply cannot say enough about how much [City Year AmeriCorps member Celess] helped me transition back during such a challenging year for teachers and students.
“I am in awe of her overall willingness to simply be present and lend a helping hand without fail. Mere words cannot express the gratitude that I have for Celess … and the City Year organization for providing such efficient partners that support our goals of academic success.
–Ms. Davis, a middle school teacher in San Antonio, talking about her City Year AmeriCorps member, Celess
Our school partners value the role that our AmeriCorps members are playing in providing high-quality support, normalcy and a sense of connection. We are continually learning about how best to do this as our AmeriCorps members play a unique role in helping schools in this unprecedented year.
Why should my child consider serving with City Year at this time?
We are all adapting to the uncertainty, loss and disruption caused by COVID-19. Though the impact of this pandemic is wide-reaching and affects all of us, we know that it is disproportionately impacting students and families who live in the systemically under-resourced communities City Year serves.
Our students need empathetic, caring and trained young adults who believe in them and their future. Serving as a City Year AmeriCorps member right now offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help students reconnect with their school community, re-engage in their learning and recover from learning loss they experienced as a result of COVID-19. Thank you to all current and future City Year parents for supporting your child in pursuing a year of service during this critical time.
City Year is an opportunity to serve others for 11 months. It is also an opportunity to gain professional experience and develop key skills that will help your adult child in their career. Through the City Year experience, AmeriCorps members develop essential skills such as communication, working on a diverse team, event planning, and using data to inform decision making, all of which help them stand out in a competitive job market.
What if my child is moving for service and schools are not physically back in session— would they still have a job? I am concerned about signing a lease and being financially responsible for a rental agreement.
All confirmed AmeriCorps members will have a position at the start of service. Despite the uncertainty this pandemic has caused, one thing is very clear—our students and schools need the additional academic, social and emotional support that our AmeriCorps members provide, whether schools re-open in person, virtually or some combination of the two.
All of our 29 locations have launched their year of service for 2021-2022 academic year. We have built on the success of our virtual service from the spring of 2020 and are adjusting as necessary.
Caring for our AmeriCorps members continues to be our top priority. Currently serving AmeriCorps members continue to receive full bi-weekly living stipends, health benefits, AmeriCorps childcare benefits, and educational loan deferrals whether their service is conducted in-person or virtually. Our staff is working to ensure our AmeriCorps members are being supported professionally and personally while engaging in service.
What is the outlook for City Year’s funding for the 2021-2022 service year?
We are thankful that City Year is in a strong position, with support from our diverse set of public and private partners. Since 2003, City Year has earned the highest ranking from Charity Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator, placing us among the most trustworthy nonprofits in America. Our school partners, who provide funding for our work, see our supports as critical as educators seek to address the trauma and learning loss that students have been experiencing during COVID-19. We also receive federal funding through a competitive application process and we receive philanthropic support from foundations, corporations and individuals—many of whom make multi-year commitments.
Like all nonprofits, we will continue to navigate shifts and uncertainties in public and private funding in the coming years and we are working closely with our partners to continue their commitments and to create new funding strategies to meet the unique circumstances of this moment, building on our strong and diverse funding base and the commitment of our investors.
Read our FAQs for prospective or confirmed Corps in response to COVID-19.Read FAQs
Learn more about City Year's application process, service experience and benefits during and after service.Learn more
Read a press release from City Year CEO Jim Balfanz on City Year's response to COVID-19.Learn more