Welcome Back to In-Person Programming: A Guide to Safe Return

As we look to reopen the doors to schools, community centers, and youth spaces to welcome youth back to in-person programming, we put a few resources together to help you plan and prepare for this experience. We recognize that every provider’s in-person programming space may look different and that ultimately you’ll be asked to follow the safety guidelines and protocols of your individual hosts. Still, we wanted to provide resources, helpful tips, and suggestions to help you remain as safe as possible and stay committed to delivering a quality program. 

As always you can start with our ACT site:

In-Person Implementation of EBPs during COVID-19

Please note that we looked to provide the most recent and up to date information, acknowledging that new safety guidelines could be added in the very near future. Where possible on the web resources below, please look for the date posted to ensure you’re flowing the most current information possible. 

CDC: How to Protect Yourself and Others

CDC: Schools and Child Care Programs: Plan, Prepare, and Respond

NYC Health: COVID-19: Guidance for Businesses and Schools

NYC Health: Checklist for In-Person Instruction

Marisol De Leon

~ Marisol

Moving to Virtual Implementation of EBPs?

In recent months we have talked a lot about virtual implementation of evidence-based programs. Re-opening plans for schools and community-based youth organizations have been varied and challenging. Conditions have changed frequently and at times abruptly.

To address these complexities, and with fidelity and quality delivery of EBPs in mind, we have developed implementation strategies and tools that will help you plan and prepare for a successful virtual implementation.

Steps to consider

  1. Investigate what the implementation conditions are at the implementation site – use the preparation checklist to plan and prepare for virtual or hybrid implementation.
  1. Use the EBP templates to develop your virtual presentation. These templates are newly updated. Find the templates for each synchronous module, and information about how to access and use the asynchronous templates, here:

BPBR Virtual Implementation

MPC Virtual Implementation

  1. Complete the virtual implementation plan to document how you modify the program and adapt to specific site conditions. You may have to do a different plan for each site.
  1. Send the virtual implementation plan to your ACT TA provider for review and discussion.

  1. Once approved, you can start implementing and refer to the virtual implementation plan when you enter cycle data into the ORS.

Virtual presentations are quite different from in-person presentations.

In our recent virtual presentations skills workshops we identified and discussed lots of potential technical and personal delivery issues. We highly recommend that presenters prepare thoroughly and practice.  Consider building in time for an extra introductory session with young people to do warm-up or team-building activities and practice the interactive features of the platform you are using. Young people may not be familiar with some of these features. Interacting and communicating via technology may take more time than you may expect. We recommend adding 2-3 extra sessions to your EBP implementation schedule.

Here are two additional tools to help you plan and prepare:

Let us know if you have any questions.

~ Jutta

Regional Provider Meetings

We are changing it up!

Over the past months many of you have participated in various work groups and ACT virtual training events and explored online platforms and material. As we are all learning, to stay alert and engaged online you have to change things up–so that’s what we’re going to do!

In October we will be hosting regional provider meetings. This idea actually came from you. In recent weeks several providers suggested organizing virtual regional provider meetings. ACT will host the meetings but the agenda and discussion will be set by you. This will be an opportunity to discuss outreach efforts, implementation challenges, and working with schools and community-based organizations in this new era of COVID-19. And you can talk about specific regional issues that impact your work. You can share successes, resources, and challenges and engage in joint problem solving.

Participation is voluntary. CAPP, PREP, and SRAE educators and supervisors are welcome. We have divided upstate into three groups and downstate into five groups (see regional provider meeting groups document below), although if you feel a stronger affinity with another region (especially upstate) you are free to join another provider meeting.

We scheduled all provider meetings on Fridays. The reading club will be on hold for the month. Let’s see how this works. After the first round the regional groups may decide on different times and days.

Start-up will be October 9!

Jutta Dotterweich

~ Jutta

Virtual Implementation of EBPs: Clarifying a Few Points

Many of you joined us for our web meeting last week on virtual implementation of EBPs. At this point there is still a lot of uncertainty about whether and how we can reach young people to engage them in sexuality education. School re-opening may look very different in each community or city borough. It is also not certain that school staff, administrators, or teachers, are interested in working with you this school year given the complexity of re-opening schools safely. However, together we are moving ahead with planning virtual implementation so that we will have something to offer young people and teachers soon.

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Learning

We will form work groups for three EBPs: Be Proud Be Responsible, Making Proud Choices, and Making a Difference. (TOP and Project AIM developers have provided us with virtual implementation guidelines and material. We will be meeting with providers who selected TOP and Project AIM separately.)

We propose to develop one template for asynchronous learning and one for synchronous learning.

  • Asynchronous learning refers to providing curriculum via platforms such as Google Classroom or Schoology where young people will study online following teacher instructions. They can do this individually at their own pace, working and submitting responses online using the platform.
  • Synchronous learning refers to providing curriculum live online via platforms such as Zoom or Skype where young people sign in at the same time and participate in activities online.

The material we develop in the work groups will be available on the website. Once you know if and how you can access young people in schools or through community-based organizations, you can tailor these materials for your site. We will develop fidelity guidelines and will ask you to submit your online curriculum for review before you implement.

Develop online EBP material on your own?

You are welcome to work with your local project team to develop online material for any of the EBPs you usually implement. As mentioned above we will develop fidelity guidelines and ask you to submit your online curriculum for review.

Documentation in the ORS? Entry and exit surveys?

We are still working on adjusting the Online Reporting System (ORS) to the different virtual implementation processes. Similarly, we are still discussing how to administer the entry and exit surveys required for PREP contracts.

Incentives for virtual implementation?

If implementation is not part of a virtual school classroom, CAPP and PREP providers may use incentives. You may be able to recruit young people through teachers for synchronous, live implementations outside the virtual school structure. You can use incentives for virtual implementation for community-based agencies and afterschool settings. At this time incentives are not allowed in the SRAE initiative. We will advocate for incentives for virtual implementation for SRAE contracts.

Continue current virtual efforts (non EBP-based)?

You can continue your current social media efforts to engage youth with sexual and reproductive health and healthy relationship information as well as continue Component 2 virtual programming. Again, we recognize that some of you may not be able to work with the schools to deliver EBPs virtually. Schools may set different priorities at this time.

ETR Resources

Online learning requires different techniques to keep young people engaged and motivated to learn. ETR, the purveyor of many EBPs including Be Proud Be Responsible, Making Proud Choices, Making a Difference, Reducing the Risk, and Cuídate, has made available a set of resources / tip sheets to guide the translation of EBPs to virtual platforms.

Adapting Teaching Strategies for a Virtual Environment

Adapting Trauma-Informed Practices to a Virtual Environment

Alternative Video Guidance

Jutta Dotterweich

~ Jutta

Resources for Parents during COVID-19

Do you know a parent (or are you a parent) who needs resources to help them cope during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you know of a great practical resource parents could use?

In response to a request from one of you, Michele began gathering parent resources and Heather and the Parent Engagement Learning Collaborative are continuing to build the list. Topics (as of this writing) include:

  • Emotional Support (for parents and children)
  • Talking Points for Discussing COVID-19
  • Dealing with Grief and Loss
  • General Resources (e.g., mutual aid)
  • Unemployment Resources
  • Mental Health Services
  • Food
  • Housing
  • Safety

Browse and add your own resources to Real Life Resources for Parents During the Pandemic.

There’s No Place Like Home: How to Make “Working Remotely” Work for You

It’s been between 3-4 weeks since the majority of us have been working remotely.  While this has had an impact on many facets of our lives, let’s focus on our work lives in this post.  How do you navigate the unique dynamics of working from home, especially if you’re not alone?  There are several challenges related to working remotely such as limited access to files or curricular materials, noise and distractions from those within and outside of your home, and having to deal with health concerns—your own and/or those of your loved ones.  Here are a few tips:

  1. Create a calendar/routine: This is especially important if you have multiple people in the home and have to share space and/or technology.  While our current reality is anything but “normal,” try to promote a sense of normalcy by doing what you used to do before while also establishing some new routines (e.g. shower and get dressed as if you were going into the office—YES, I said get dressed, no matter how tempting it may be to stay in your PJs, schedule and enjoy your meals and breaks, check your emails and use a calendar to keep track of all of your work meetings and activities).  If sharing space/technology, you may want to do this for everyone in your home to avoid scheduling conflicts.
  2. Find/create a space at home to work:  Acknowledging that this may be difficult if space is limited and there are multiple people in your home, try to find a neutral space with few distractions (for you and for those that will see you on video).  If you’re on several virtual meetings, you want to find an area that is well-lit and not too far from your router so that you get a strong connection.  Make sure your seating is comfortable, but not too comfortable…I know the recliner is really tempting.
  3. Step up your technology game:  Since more of us are working online, we’re seeing the good side of technology (e.g. being able to connect with friends and family for virtual hang-out sessions) and the not-so-good side of technology (e.g. Zoom Bombing).  Take this time to learn the basics of some commonly used platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, as well as some newer ways that people are connecting like Houseparty.
  4. Establish boundaries:  Working from home means that it’s easier to get your day started, but it might also make it harder for you to end your day.  It’s important to establish boundaries by letting people (including your family, colleagues, etc.) know when you’re working and when you’re off the clock.  Most importantly, when you’re off…you’re off!  Disconnect from work and reconnect with your actual “home life.”
  5. Be gentle with yourself:  As mentioned previously, there is nothing normal about what we are collectively experiencing.  So, don’t expect to fall into “work as usual” mode so quickly.  Allow yourself time to find your groove in our new reality and, don’t just forgive yourself for making mistakes, but expect them.  Lastly, explore new self-care options:  take an online dance, yoga, or fitness class, listen to your favorite podcasts or audiobooks, take on the those long overdue home improvement projects, experiment with some new recipes or reconnect with loved ones that you’ve lost touch with. 
Michele Luc smiling

~ Michele