The after-school care crisis
by: Sarah Baughn | Updated: June 12, 2023
When Katie Cherbini and her family moved 1,000 miles — from Arizona to California — smack in the middle of the school year, she soon discovered a sobering reality. To accommodate both parents’ full-time work schedules, her two elementary-aged kids would need after-school care five days a week, but the programs offered at her children’s new school were fully enrolled.
“I needed coverage, period,” Cherbini says. “And the nanny route, at $20 per hour, wasn’t going to work for our family financially.”
Finding herself alone just when that proverbial village would come in handy, Cherbini started visiting a local park to ask everyone she met about aftercare. Eventually, one parent told Cherbini about a local online parent forum with a list of after-school programs. She found space at a nearby private school that offered affordable after-school programs to students not enrolled at that school. In the end, Cherbini was one of the lucky ones.
When an after-school care crisis hits, who are you going to call? For most working parents, aftercare is essential; but in many communities there are few guarantees. In-school programs are often overenrolled or have strict eligibility guidelines. Community programs can be expensive and difficult to get to, and the best ones often have waiting lists as well.
The result? Many kids don’t get the care they need in the witching hours between the time school ends and the moment parents arrive home from work. According to the Afterschool Alliance , a group of organizations that research and advocate for after-school care, 8.4 million children attend after-school programs, but an estimated 18.5 million children need it, leaving as many as 15 million kids alone — often unsupervised — after school.
This dearth affects families beyond their need for care. A survey of New York City parents whose kids attended a city program shows that reliable after-school programs yield the additional benefit of job security: 74 percent of parents agreed that after-school programs make it easier to keep their job, and 73 percent reporting missing less work once their child started the program.
Aftercare achievement gap
To further complicate matters, research shows not all aftercare is created equal, and the quality of programs can have a great effect on children’s success. One analysis of 68 studies of after-school programs found that students enrolled in high-quality after-school programs have better attendance, behave better, and score higher on tests than their counterparts who don’t attend such programs. Thus, choosing aftercare can be almost as important — and difficult — as choosing a school.
Not just for little ones
Despite middle schoolers’ protestations about not needing “day care,” Jean Baldwin Grossman , a researcher at Princeton’s Office of Population Research and an expert on after-school programs, says quality aftercare is even more important for children at this stage. Making matters more complicated, kids are more likely to be picky, requiring an after-school program that focuses on a skill or a sport that appeals to them.
According to Grossman, the most important aspect of aftercare for older kids is strong interpersonal relationships and excellent group management by attentive, supportive adults. Having another adult in a young teen’s orbit can be crucial developmentally, says Grossman. “When children reach middle-school age, they want more autonomy. Having non-parental adults who kids can turn to with questions, who provide compassionate ears, are really influential.”
Signs of a great after-school program
• Clear goals and a program designed to meet those goals. • Space, staff, and resources to offer structured activities. • A schedule that allows students time to learn and practice skills — art, sports, etc. • Homework help. • Staff who relate well to students, manage groups well, maintain high expectations, and keep students motivated. • Flexible attendance schedules and reasonable cost. • Established communication channels with parents and school staff.
7 places to look
1) Start with the ultimate insider: the school secretary. Many schools have the most current information on what’s offered within the district. 2) Contact your city’s recreation department. Many have after-school centers and also provide transportation to those sites from a child’s school. 3) Research local faith-based organizations — including churches and synagogues — to see what programs they provide. 4) Check out YMCA and Boys and Girls clubs in your area. They often have programs for teens, such as mentoring groups, homework clubs, and sports. 5) To find for-profit after-school centers and programs, search online in your area and for your child’s areas of interest. 6) Go social. Post your needs on Facebook, Twitter, or neighborhood listservs or online forums to get ideas about the best local programs for your child. 7) Ask the experts: other parents. In parks, cafes, and community centers, don’t be shy — ask other parents what worked for them.
Have a plan A, B — and C
Finally, it’s wise to have a back-up plan. Not all programs work for all kids, so it’s important to be able to switch programs if necessary. If one program doesn’t work out, it’s great not to have to start your search from scratch. Sometimes switching midyear may be the only way to get into a program with a long waiting list.
Having choices makes the difference between being able to say, “No, thanks” when you get a call offering a space and ending up taking whatever you can get at the last minute — even if it’s not the best fit for you or your child.
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- The Highlight
America’s after-school afterthought
The hours between school dismissal and the end of the workday are a mess. They don’t have to be.
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The after-school registration date — May 9, 2022 — was long marked on Liz Baltaro’s calendar. A family medicine doctor in Durham, North Carolina, she felt acute pressure to land spots for her twin boys, then 7 years old, in their school district’s after-school program. Baltaro and her husband Ben have no parents or other relatives living nearby and no option to work remotely. Elementary school ends in the early afternoon, but she can’t leave her job until after 5 pm.
That day, Baltaro woke up before sunrise and started refreshing her phone. When applications finally opened roughly three hours later, she signed up, in between seeing patients. Reading the confirmation email at 9:17 am, she breathed a sigh of relief.
More than two months later, with the first day of school rapidly approaching, Baltaro received a strange, vague email, listing strategies Durham Public Schools was taking to “recruit and hire staff” and “accommodate waitlisted students.” She called the district and learned her kids — along with 720 other children — had been waitlisted. Amid a headline-making national labor shortage, the district needed to hire over 60 new employees to cover the demand.
“Our choices are either after-care or my husband forfeits his job, which really isn’t tenable for us,” Baltaro said. “Finding backup nannies and child care is very difficult — that market has changed. Even if you can afford hiring someone, you can’t find someone easily; fewer people are working.”
The after-school crisis her family found themselves in is not limited to one city or state. For working parents, the hours between the end of the school day and the end of the traditional workday leave a gap millions struggle to fill. Thousands of school districts offer no after-school options at all, and some communities have just a single nonprofit or church program available.
This year, filling that gap got even harder. Fewer spots and longer after-school waitlists have been reported all over the country, and more companies are rolling back the remote flexibilities they offered workers during the pandemic. The result is a difficult climate for parents who muddled exhaustedly through Covid school closures and hoped they’d find some stability when their kids finally headed back to their classrooms.
In Durham, parents demanded answers. School district administrators apologized for the inconvenience and cited the nationwide shortage of applicants, as large chain employers like Target, Starbucks, and Walmart continued to raise their wages and offered better benefits. (Starting wages for after-school workers in Durham was $16 an hour.)
But Durham had made other decisions that contributed to the mess. That summer, officials voted to delay start times for high schoolers and begin all elementary schools earlier, trying to make school buses more efficient and provide high schoolers with more time to sleep. Practically, though, it meant hundreds more kids ages 10 and under would be finishing school at 2:15 pm.
While parents recognized the tough hiring market, many felt frustrated by what seemed like a lack of leadership. Some of these problems, like increased demand from the schedule change, were foreseeable. But after-school child care so often remains an afterthought, leaving parents — in Durham and across the country — routinely scrambling.
About 8 million kids are enrolled in after-school programs today, but that’s less than a quarter of total demand, according to the nonprofit Afterschool Alliance. Research it led in early 2020, just before the pandemic, found that nearly 25 million more children would be enrolled in an after-school program if one were available to them, up from 19 million in 2014. The top-cited barrier to enrollment was money: 57 percent of parents reported that programs were too expensive. While about a quarter of parents pay nothing for after-school programs, of the 77 percent who do pay, the average cost per child stands at $100 per week.
Despite the unmet demand, there has been little public investment in after-school care, and most programs are financed through parent fees. The federal government allocated just $1.3 billion in after-school funding in 2022, and each year the vast majority of requests for federal grants are denied . State and local governments subsidize little on top. The one exception is California, which for years has spent more on after-school than all 49 states combined.
For kids wrestling with social isolation, steep mental health challenges, and historic declines in test scores , the dearth of post-pandemic after-school options has been a bitter pill to swallow. Researchers have long known that trauma and adversity can harm youth development, but studies show these neurological effects can be mitigated by caring relationships and safe environments. After-school programs are linked to other positive outcomes , including higher grades, school attendance, and graduation rates. One study found participating in after-school activities for at least two days per week was related to a lower likelihood of alcohol use, marijuana use, and skipping school. Other research found after-school programs associated with a lower likelihood of juvenile crime , which makes sense since juvenile crime peaks during the hours of 2-6 pm.
The contemporary after-school crisis is largely driven by indifference and inertia. Unlike traditional public schooling, there’s no national consensus on who’s responsible for after-school care. Where kids are supposed to go while it’s still the middle of the workday, after the school day ends, is left to busy, overwhelmed parents to figure out.
Indeed, back in Durham, families have had to just muddle through. Over the summer, Baltaro’s husband, Ben, found three days a week available at their local YMCA’s after-school program, which was more expensive than the school district option they had hoped for. The other two days, he negotiated with his boss to cut his hours so he could watch his kids.
Tracey Super-Edwards, the director of community education at Durham Public Schools, told me that by late November, the district had reduced their after-school waitlist to about 400 students, and had reduced their staff vacancies from 61 to nine. “We’re very proud of that,” she said, stressing they did this all without raising rates for families, despite inflation. Around that same time, Ben answered a robocall and learned district slots had opened up for his twins.
They took the offer but are already feeling anxious about next year, when their youngest child ages out of day care and the whole process starts anew.
“Our culture in America really encourages working, but we are not prioritizing working parents’ schedules,” said Baltaro. “Aftercare is a necessity if you work 40 hours a week.”
Hiring for seasonal part-time jobs always takes scrappy effort, but after-school program directors say recruiting and retaining workers for these jobs — which pay as low as minimum wage, average four hours per day, and generally provide no benefits — has gotten much harder since the pandemic.
A national survey of providers conducted by Edge Research at the end of 2021 found half of respondents were “extremely concerned” about hiring staff and staffing shortages. Another national survey led in the summer of 2022 by the EdWeek Research Center found similar results: Recruiting and retaining staff were by far the top challenges school principals and after-school leaders reported. Many say the labor pool that programs used to rely on evaporated during the Covid-19 pandemic and hasn’t returned.
“We have people who sign up for interviews and we call them and they never show up and we never hear from them again,” said Daniela Grigioni, the executive director of After-School All-Stars in Washington, DC. “They block us, ghost us, we don’t know what happened. We have people starting and quitting two weeks later because they find something else. It’s very difficult.”
The most common strategy providers say they’re using to attract new workers is raising pay: Over half of respondents told Edge Research they’ve increased wages, and 30 percent told Edweek Research Center the same. Other strategies include offering workers free child care, sign-on bonuses, more professional development, and additional paid time off. Still, there are often no bites to the job postings, even with these new incentives.
Jenna Andrews, the program director at Beyond the Bell , a popular network of 25 after-school programs in the Sioux City metropolitan area, has felt the intense strain of hiring over the last year.
It’s her 10th year leading the program and it’s never been this difficult to find qualified staff, Andrews says, as we sit together on a cold Monday afternoon in January.
The slow trickle of applications and the rapid turnover of hires has meant much longer waitlists for parents, since Beyond the Bell is regulated by a strict 1:15 staff-to-student ratio. By late November, they were serving about 900 kids, down from a pre-pandemic size of 1,200.
To compete for staff, Beyond the Bell has used federal pandemic aid to raise their wages twice over the last year — now up to $13 or $15 an hour, depending on the position. They’ve also started to offer retention bonuses, attendance-based bonuses, and a bonus for those new hires who complete their on-board training faster. Advertising is also a new expense: Beyond the Bell started running ads on the internet and local TV when their more reliable pool of college students in the area didn’t materialize.
“I would say it’s been pretty disheartening because we’ve tried to come up with all these things we think would work and it continues to not,” said Andrews, as we watched kids play red rover in the gym at Bryant Elementary School, one of Beyond the Bell’s sites in Sioux City. “Maybe it motivates some people for a little but then it just fizzles out.” Bryant Elementary has a waitlist of 20 students and lost a staff member who quit around Christmas. Network-wide, Andrews said they’ve gotten their waitlist down to 130.
“We’ve seen a few staff that leave to go to other jobs that can pay them more, or give them additional hours at a higher rate, and I don’t blame them at all,” added Stacia Hough, who works with Andrews in management. “It just stinks because they were really, really wonderful with the children.”
The bustling after-school program at Prescott Elementary school in Oakland, California, offers a vision for what a future of adequately funded after-school programs could look like.
California is the only state in the nation that has taken it upon itself to invest robustly in after-school care. For two decades, it has spent more than all 49 other states combined, and is marching forward to build a universal after-school system for all children.
While most after-school programs nationwide have no public money, Prescott benefits from three different public funding sources: two grants from the California legislature, plus Oakland grant money. The result has been more flexible program hours for parents, more competitive wages for workers, and enhanced activities for kids, ranging from robotics and dance lessons to culinary classes and tutoring.
Earlier this year, an infusion of new after-school state funding sent over $36 million to the Oakland Unified School District. As a result, Prescott site coordinator Pendeka Nimmer was able to raise starting wages for her after-school staff, from $17.50 an hour pre-pandemic to as high as $22 per hour. Oakland public schools also used federal academic recovery aid to help some after-school staff become newly full-time and eligible for benefits.
The competitive wages, Nimmer says, allowed them to get the word out and recruit better applicants. “Just coming out of Covid, we were getting a lot of interviews that were falling through and I felt like a lot of people were just doing the hiring process to keep their unemployment [benefits] going,” she said. Eighty students are currently enrolled in Prescott’s program, a large jump from years past.
“We’re able to fund after-school programs at every single school for the first time, and expand those programs to include 3- and 4-year-olds, all the way up to high school,” said Martha Peña, the after-school coordinator for Oakland public schools. The funds have also allowed Oakland to launch a new elementary school sports program every Saturday, where kids can play organized soccer, baseball, and other games for free — a rare alternative to pay-to-play youth sports leagues.
“I just signed an invoice for mariachi equipment!” exclaimed Peña with pride. “And we’re in conversations to start a marching band. With this money, we can really provide kids now with what they deserve.”
Officials in California now refer to after-school as “expanded learning” — a category that includes before-school programming as well as summer school.
“We’re not child care — which is important and has a critical role, but we’re beyond care,” said Heather Williams, the policy and outreach lead for the California AfterSchool Network, a statewide advocacy group. “The flip side is we’re not extended class time, either. Expanded learning is something different and intentional.”
California’s history with publicly funded after-school programs stretches back three decades, when youth advocates in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Diego began pressuring state lawmakers to take action. Their organizing eventually culminated in $50 million budgeted for after-school programming in 1997. Within five years, lawmakers bumped that up to $122 million.
Investments soared further thanks to Proposition 49, a successful 2002 ballot measure sponsored and largely funded by Arnold Schwarzenegger , who would go on to serve as California’s governor. Ultimately, that aid, coupled with more limited federal after-school funds, led to a seven-fold increase in the number of schools providing publicly subsidized expanded learning in California, serving more than 900,000 students each year. But inflation and multiple increases in the state’s minimum wage put a strain on existing after-school programs, and upward of 40 percent of districts still offered no after-school option at all.
Then, in 2021, thanks to infusions of federal Covid-19 money and an unexpected budget surplus, California lawmakers announced a massive $5 billion increase to their after-school spending. It’s that increase that has proved to be such a game changer recently in Oakland.
“I had no idea that was coming, I learned about the expansion just like everyone else, watching the news and Newsom’s press conference,” Michael Funk, the top state official overseeing California’s expanded learning programs told me, as we sat together in his Sacramento office. “And so I had to start that afternoon thinking, ‘Holy shit, how am I gonna do this?’”
All told, California now budgets a little over $5 billion annually on before-school, after-school, and summer learning.
Funk is an unlikely government bureaucrat; originally an ordained minister, he left his church in the early 1990s to help launch an after-school program in San Francisco and advocate for statewide funding. In 2012, he was tapped to lead a new Afterschool Division at the state education department. Today, he manages a team of 45 employees and counts roughly 25 other leaders across the state — including Williams at the California Afterschool Network — working with him toward the vision of universal after-school.
Still, there are challenges. Not all school districts in California have been as eager as Oakland Unified to accept the new state funds for expanded learning; for some superintendents overwhelmed with other responsibilities, erecting new after-school programs effectively from scratch felt like more trouble than it’s worth. Funk has been working to persuade more districts that this opportunity is something they can handle.
And even with California’s unique political commitment and robust funding, staffing after-school programs remains tough in many communities, as many programs still pay at or just above minimum wage (which increased statewide in 2023 to $15.50 an hour.)
“For part-time after-school staff, if you’re [paying] under $20 an hour, it’s going to be hard for you to hire in California,” said Williams. “The number I hear a lot is that $20 for starting part-time is really the threshold that’s needed.”
A report published in November examining the 20 years since Prop 49’s passage emphasized that livable wages and benefits are key to expanded learning and essential to growing the state’s potential workforce, which is far more demographically representative of California’s youth than the state’s K-12 teachers . After-school workers are also more likely to speak the primary language spoken by their students and live in their communities.
Funk stressed to me that he doesn’t see after-school jobs ever being able to compete with big retailers on a dollar-for-dollar basis. “One of the messages I’ve been trying to really drive home is that if we’re trying to recruit people to the workforce by competing with Starbucks ... is do you want to make a difference? Do you want to really support and change the lives of young people? Do you want to get into a job that could be the entry point for a career in education?”
Still, plenty of after-school advocates counter that the field cannot abandon the goal of competitive wages in favor of hoping for a virtuous do-gooder workforce motivated primarily by passion. That’s a recipe, they say, for waitlists, staff shortages, and instability.
In November, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona traveled to California to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Proposition 49. “I want to see a commitment at all levels — at the state, at the local level, to commit to after-school programs like I saw here today,” he said at the event .
But outside of California, expanding public funding for after-school programs has been slow. Last year Congress authorized a $30 million increase to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, the only major source of federal funding for after-school care, and Biden proposed a modest $21 million bump to it in his 2023 budget.
Advocates have been rallying for a $500 million federal increase so that communities can actually serve the 24.6 million children who would likely attend if programs were available.
Biden, for his part, has put some pressure on his education department. Last summer, he urged states to use their federal pandemic funds to support after-school and summer learning, prompting the first-ever federal education department campaign to promote those initiatives.
When I asked Cardona about the dearth of public funding for after-school, he stressed the need to “be creative” and look to partnerships with community-based organizations. “I know states are looking at mental health supports, and you know what provides mental health?” he asked. “Being part of a theater group, or a club where they feel connected to others.”
Yes, after-school is an academic tool, he added, but it’s also a safety tool. “We need to be thinking about it not only in terms of education funding but also municipal and state funding to reduce crime,” he said.
Public funding for after-school — particularly on the local level — sometimes runs into conflict with teacher unions, which would rather see additional money spent on the traditional school day, or at least go to district employees rather than after-school workers employed by nonprofit partners. “If I were talking to a labor union leader here at this table, I would stress that this is something that actually does not put [an] undue burden on the teachers and classified staff of your school,” said Jeff Davis, head of the California AfterSchool Network. “It actually enhances what they’re able to do, and you’re not only strengthening your school, your family services, but also your community at large.”
Some leaders say they’ve embraced a glass-half-full perspective regarding the future. “I’ve been in this for 19 years, and in that time funding has only gone up,” said Ben Paul, the president and CEO of After-School All-Stars, which was originally founded by Schwarzenneger in 1992. Still, Paul acknowledged it has been hard on the local and state level to get the investment communities need because there are so many other interest groups competing for resources.
Vermont is the closest to following in California’s footsteps. Republican Gov. Phil Scott has pushed to accommodate the 26,000 children who can’t currently get into after-school programs in the state, pitching it as a way to help Vermont’s labor force by aligning it with school schedules. Vermont’s state health commissioner has hailed after-school as a proven way to prevent substance misuse among kids. The state formed a task force and in 2021 published a final report about how to erect a universal program.
A few other politicians have leaned into the idea of after-school. In her most recent budget proposal, Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for lawmakers to expand state funding for before- and after-school by $50 million to help kids and parents. Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser pledged this year to “build the best, most robust, free before-and-after-school program in the nation.”
Still, most other states continue to drag their feet. The Mott Foundation, a Michigan-based philanthropy, has issued some $350 million in grants over the last few decades to support after-school expansion , and currently convenes a 50-state network to help further that goal. “We’re working on it!” Jodi Grant, of the Afterschool Alliance, told me when I pressed about public funding.
Funk, the California education department official, said in his view it all comes down to advocacy and “leading with love” for kids and families. “That’s not fluffy stuff, it’s actually very hard work,” he said. “People could come up with all types of reasons for why they can’t do what we do in California. But we didn’t have any money when we first started.”
This story was produced with support from the Education Writers Association Reporting Fellowship program.
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SchoolCare Works™ provides a cloud-based Service-as-a-Software (SaaS) flexible solution for your before and afterschool program needs. Whether you are a large school district with complex programs, a Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, community education service, or private program, SchoolCare Works™ can scale to help manage your program!
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CDC plans to drop five-day covid isolation guidelines
Americans who test positive for the coronavirus no longer need to routinely stay home from work and school for five days under new guidance planned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The agency is loosening its covid isolation recommendations for the first time since 2021 to align it with guidance on how to avoid transmitting flu and RSV, according to four agency officials and an expert familiar with the discussions.
CDC officials acknowledged in internal discussions and in a briefing last week with state health officials how much the covid-19 landscape has changed since the virus emerged four years ago, killing nearly 1.2 million people in the United States and shuttering businesses and schools. The new reality — with most people having developed a level of immunity to the virus because of prior infection or vaccination — warrants a shift to a more practical approach, experts and health officials say.
“Public health has to be realistic,” said Michael T. Osterholm, an infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota. “In making recommendations to the public today, we have to try to get the most out of what people are willing to do. … You can be absolutely right in the science and yet accomplish nothing because no one will listen to you.”
The CDC plans to recommend that people who test positive for the coronavirus use clinical symptoms to determine when to end isolation. Under the new approach, people would no longer need to stay home if they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the aid of medication and their symptoms are mild and improving, according to three agency officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal discussions.
Here is the current CDC guidance on isolation and precautions for people with covid-19
The federal recommendations follow similar moves by Oregon and California . The White House has yet to sign off on the guidance that the agency is expected to release in April for public feedback, officials said. One agency official said the timing could “move around a bit” until the guidance is finalized.
Work on revising isolation guidance has been underway since last August but was paused in the fall as covid cases rose. CDC director Mandy Cohen sent staff a memo in January that listed “Pan-resp guidance-April” as a bullet point for the agency’s 2024 priorities.
Officials said they recognized the need to give the public more practical guidelines for covid-19, acknowledging that few people are following isolation guidance that hasn’t been updated since December 2021. Back then, health officials cut the recommended isolation period for people with asymptomatic coronavirus from 10 days to five because they worried essential services would be hobbled as the highly transmissible omicron variant sent infections surging. The decision was hailed by business groups and slammed by some union leaders and health experts.
Covid is here to stay. How will we know when it stops being special?
The plan to further loosen isolation guidance when the science around infectiousness has not changed is likely to prompt strong negative reaction from vulnerable groups, including people older than 65, those with weak immune systems and long-covid patients, CDC officials and experts said.
Doing so “sweeps this serious illness under the rug,” said Lara Jirmanus, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School and a member of the People’s CDC, a coalition of health-care workers, scientists and advocates focused on reducing the harmful effects of covid-19.
Public health officials should treat covid differently from other respiratory viruses, she said, because it’s deadlier than the flu and increases the risk of developing long-term complications . As many as 7 percent of Americans report having suffered from a slew of lingering covid symptoms, including fatigue, difficulty breathing, brain fog, joint pain and ongoing loss of taste and smell, according to the CDC.
The new isolation recommendations would not apply to hospitals and other health-care settings with more vulnerable populations, CDC officials said.
While the coronavirus continues to cause serious illness, especially among the most vulnerable people, vaccines and effective treatments such as Paxlovid are available. The latest versions of coronavirus vaccines were 54 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection in adults, according to data released Feb. 1, the first U.S. study to assess how well the shots work against the most recent coronavirus variant. But CDC data shows only 22 percent of adults and 12 percent of children had received the updated vaccine as of Feb. 9, despite data showing the vaccines provide robust protection against serious illness .
Coronavirus levels in wastewater i ndicate that symptomatic and asymptomatic infections remain high. About 20,000 people are still hospitalized — and about 2,300 are dying — every week, CDC data show. But the numbers are falling and are much lower than when deaths peaked in January 2021 when almost 26,000 people died of covid each week and about 115,000 were hospitalized.
The lower rates of hospitalizations were among the reasons California shortened its five-day isolation recommendation last month , urging people to stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours and their symptoms are mild and improving. Oregon made a similar move last May.
California’s state epidemiologist Erica Pan said the societal disruptions that resulted from strict isolation guidelines also helped spur the change. Workers without sick leave and those who can’t work from home if they or their children test positive and are required to isolate bore a disproportionate burden. Strict isolation requirements can act as a disincentive to test when testing should be encouraged so people at risk for serious illness can get treatment, she said.
Giving people symptom-based guidance, similar to what is already recommended for flu, is a better way to prioritize those most at risk and balance the potential for disruptive impacts on schools and workplaces, Pan said. After Oregon made its change, the state has not experienced any disproportionate increases in community transmission or severity, according to data shared last month with the national association representing state health officials.
California still recommends people with covid wear masks indoors when they are around others for 10 days after testing positive — even if they have no symptoms — or becoming sick. “You may remove your mask sooner than 10 days if you have two sequential negative tests at least one day apart,” the California guidance states.
It’s not clear whether the updated CDC guidance will continue to recommend masking for 10 days.
Health officials from other states told the CDC last week that they are already moving toward isolation guidelines that would treat the coronavirus the same as flu and RSV, with additional precautions for people at high risk, said Anne Zink, an emergency room physician and Alaska’s chief medical officer.
Many other countries, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Australia, made changes to isolation recommendations in 2022. Of 16 countries whose policies California officials reviewed, only Germany and Ireland still recommend isolation for five days, according to a presentation the California public health department gave health officials from other states in January. The Singapore ministry of health, in updated guidance late last year, said residents could “return to normal activities” once coronavirus symptoms resolve.
Even before the Biden administration ended the public health emergency last May, much of the public had moved on from covid-19, with many people having long given up testing and masking, much less isolating when they come down with covid symptoms.
Doctors say the best way for sick people to protect their communities is to mask or avoid unnecessary trips outside the home.
“You see a lot of people with symptoms — you don’t know if they have covid or influenza or RSV — but in all three of those cases, they probably shouldn’t be at Target, coughing, and looking sick,” said Eli Perencevich, an internal medicine professor at the University of Iowa.
Coronavirus: What you need to know
Covid isolation guidelines: Americans who test positive for the coronavirus no longer need to routinely stay home from work and school for five days under new guidance planned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The change has raised concerns among medically vulnerable people .
New coronavirus variant: The United States is in the throes of another covid-19 uptick and coronavirus samples detected in wastewater suggests infections could be as rampant as they were last winter. JN.1, the new dominant variant , appears to be especially adept at infecting those who have been vaccinated or previously infected. Here’s how this covid surge compares with earlier spikes .
Latest coronavirus booster: The CDC recommends that anyone 6 months or older gets an updated coronavirus shot , but the vaccine rollout has seen some hiccups , especially for children . Here’s what you need to know about the latest coronavirus vaccines , including when you should get it.
- High-risk patients alarmed by CDC’s plan to ease covid isolation guidance February 17, 2024 High-risk patients alarmed by CDC’s plan to ease covid isolation guidance February 17, 2024
- CDC plans to drop five-day covid isolation guidelines February 13, 2024 CDC plans to drop five-day covid isolation guidelines February 13, 2024
- How long covid takes a toll on relationships and intimacy February 13, 2024 How long covid takes a toll on relationships and intimacy February 13, 2024
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Trump’s Cash Crunch
The ruling in former president donald j. trump’s civil fraud case could cost him all his available cash..
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Last week, when a civil court judge in New York ruled against Donald J. Trump, he imposed a set of penalties so severe that they could temporarily sever the former president from his real-estate empire and wipe out all of his cash.
Jonah Bromwich, who covers criminal justice in New York, and Maggie Haberman, a senior political correspondent for The Times, explain what that will mean for Mr. Trump as a businessman and as a candidate.
On today’s episode
Jonah E. Bromwich , a criminal justice correspondent for The New York Times.
Maggie Haberman , a senior political correspondent for The New York Times.
Mr. Trump was met with a $450 million blow to his finances and his identity.
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Jonah E. Bromwich covers criminal justice in New York, with a focus on the Manhattan district attorney's office, state criminal courts in Manhattan and New York City's jails. More about Jonah E. Bromwich
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7 Cool Things To Do After College Besides Work
Posted: January 23, 2024 | Last updated: January 23, 2024
7 Things to Do After College Besides Work
After graduation from college, you may be full speed ahead in terms of finding a job and launching your career. However, many recent grads may have other ideas and not head directly into the work world.
Several alternatives are possible — including internships, volunteering, grad school, or spending time abroad. Of course, the options available will differ depending on each person’s situation and interests. If you’re considering a path other than diving into an entry-level job, read on. Here are seven things to do after college besides work.
1. Pursue Internships
One popular alternative to working right after college is finding an internship. Generally, internships are temporary work opportunities, which are sometimes, but not always, paid. Unpaid internships can be valuable nonetheless.
Internships for recent grads can offer a chance to build up hands-on experience in a field or industry they believe they’re interested in working in full time. For some people, it could help determine whether the reality of working in a given sector meets their expectations.
Whatever grads learn during an internship, having on-the-job experience (even for those who opt to pursue a different career path) could make a job seeker stand out afterwards. Internships can help beef up a resume, especially for recent grads who don’t have much formal job experience.
A potential perk of internships is the chance to further grow your professional network, building relationships with more experienced workers in a particular department or job. Some interns may even be able to turn their short-term internship roles into a full-time position at the same company.
Starting out in an internship can be a great way for graduates to enter the workforce, road-testing a specific job role or company. You may find the opportunity is a great fit or decide it’s actually not right for you.
2. Serve with AmeriCorps
Some graduates want to spend their time after college contributing to the greater good of American society. One possible option here is the Americorps program, which is supported by the US Federal Government.
So, what exactly is Americorps? Americorps is a national service program dedicated to improving lives and fostering civic engagement. There are three main programs that graduates can join in AmeriCorps:
- AmeriCorps NCCC
- AmeriCorps State and National
- AmeriCorps Vista.
There’s a wide variety of options in AmeriCorps, when it comes to how you can serve. Graduates can dive into emergency management, help fight poverty, or work in a classroom.
However graduates decide to serve through AmeriCorps, it may provide them with a rewarding professional experience and insights into a potential career.
Practically, Americorps members may also qualify for benefits such as student loan deferment , a living allowance, education awards (upon finishing their service), and skills training.
It may sound a bit dramatic, but AmeriCorps’ slogan is “Be the greater good.” Giving back to society could be a powerful way to spend some time after graduating. You can support organizations in need, while also establishing new professional connections.
3. Attend Grad School
Some jobs require just a bachelor’s degree, while others require a master’s degree. Think, for instance, of being a lawyer or medical doctor. Or you might want a certain postgrad degree, like earning an MBA , to boost your career and earning trajectory.
The number of jobs that expect graduate degrees is increasing in the US. Graduates might want to research their desired career fields and see if it’s common for people in these roles to need a master’s or terminal (PhD) degree.
Some students may wish to take a break in between undergrad and grad school, while others find it easier to go straight through. This choice will vary from student to student, depending on the energy they have to continue school as well as their ability to afford graduate school .
Graduate school will be a commitment of time, energy, and money. So, it’s wise to feel confident that a graduate degree is necessary for the line of work you’d like to pursue before forging ahead.
4. Volunteer for a Cause
Volunteering could be a great way for graduates to gain some extra skills before applying for a full-time job. Here’s why:
- Doing volunteer work may help graduates polish some essential soft skills, like interpersonal communication, interacting with clients or service recipients, and time management.
- This, in turn, can help you tweak your resume and make yourself more marketable.
- Volunteering can help you network and forge new connections outside of college. The people-to-people connections made while volunteering could lead to mentorship and job offers.
- New grads may want to volunteer at an institution or organization that syncs with their values or, perhaps, pursue opportunities in sectors of the economy where they’d like to work later on (i.e., at a hospital).
- Volunteering just feels good. After all of the stress that accompanies finishing up college, volunteering afterward could be the perfect way to recharge.
5. Serve Abroad
Similar to the last option, volunteering abroad can be attractive to some graduates. It may help grads gain similar skills they’d learn volunteering here at home. It can also give them the opportunity to learn how to interact with people from different cultures, learn a new language, and see new perspectives on solving problems.
Though it can be beneficial to the volunteers, volunteering abroad isn’t always as ethical as it seems. And, not all volunteering opportunities always benefit the local community.
It could take research to find organizations that are doing ethically responsible work abroad. One key thing to look for is organizations that put the locals first and have them directly involved in the work.
6. Take a Gap Year
A gap year is a semester or a year of experiential learning. While it’s often taken after high school, it can be a path after college as well. (You may have to budget for a gap year , though, especially if you won’t be earning much income.)
Not only might a gap year help grads build insights into what they’d like to do with their later careers, it may also help them home in on a greater purpose in life or build connections that could lead to future job opportunities.
Graduates might want to spend a gap year doing a variety of activities including:
- Trying out seasonal jobs
- Volunteering or caring for family members or others in need
- Teaching or tutoring
A gap year can be whatever the graduate thinks will be most beneficial for them. There are a variety of ways to finance a gap year that can be worth researching.
7. Travel Before Working
Going on a trip after graduation is a popular choice for graduates who can afford to travel after college. Traveling can be expensive, so graduates may want to budget in advance (if they want to have this experience post-graduation.
On top of just being really fun, travel can have beneficial impacts for an individual’s stress levels and mental health. Traveling after graduation is a convenient time to start ticking locations off that bucket list, because graduates won’t be held back by a limited vacation time. Going abroad before working can give students more time and flexibility to travel as much as they’d like (and can afford to travel ).
There are ways to economize, such as using a multi-country rail pass, etc. It doesn’t have to be all luxury all the time. Budget travel is possible especially when making conscious decisions, like staying in affordable hotels and using public transportation.
If graduates are determined to travel before working, they can accomplish this by saving money and budgeting well.
Navigating Postgrad Financial Decisions
Whether a recent grad opts to start their careers off right away or to pursue one of the above-mentioned paths post-college other than work, student loans may be part of the picture.
After graduating (or if you’ve dropped below half-time enrollment or left school), the reality of paying back student loans sets in. The exact moment that grads will have to begin paying off their student loans will vary by the type of loan.
For federal loans, there are a couple of different times that repayment begins. Students who took out a Direct Subsidized , Direct Unsubsidized, or Federal Family Education Loan, will all have a six-month grace period before they’re required to make payments. Students who took out a Perkins loan will have a nine-month grace period.
When it comes to the PLUS loan, it depends on the type of student that’s taken the loan out. Undergraduates will be required to start repayment as soon as the loan is paid out. Graduate and professional students with PLUS loans will be on automatic deferment while they’re in school and up to six months after graduating.
Some graduates opt to refinance their student loans . What does that mean? Refinancing student loans is when a lender pays off the existing loan with another loan that has a new interest rate. Refinancing can potentially lower monthly loan repayments or reduce the amount spent on interest over the life of the loan.
However, there are a couple of important notes about this process:
- Both US federal and private student loans can be refinanced, but when federal student loans are refinanced by a private lender, the borrower forfeits federal benefits — including loan forgiveness, deferment and forbearance, and income-driven repayment options.
- For those who refinance for an extended term may pay more interest over the life of the loan.
For these reasons, each person with student loans should carefully consider their situation and options to decide the best way to manage their debt.
This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org .
SoFi Student Loan RefinanceIf you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.
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Valencia mourns tower block fire victims as death toll rises to 10
The victims of a huge fire that ripped through an apartment block in the Spanish city of Valencia were mourned on Saturday as authorities said the death toll had risen to 10.
Moab poised to apply for Dark Sky certification
Citizens asked to give opinion on new lighting on main street..
(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Main Street Moab, on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024.
After years of work, Moab is close to submitting its Dark Sky Community Application in March. In the meantime, residents are asked to offer their opinions on new retrofitted lighting on Main Street from 300 South to Uranium Drive just south of City Market.
A total of eight streetlights were retrofitted, four with 3000k luminaries and four with 2400k. There are four lights on each side of Main Street, with the four to the north 3000k and the four to the south 2400.
Residents are asked to compare the color of light, the color of rendering and brightness, in terms of both safety and glare.
Email your thoughts to [email protected]
The lights, which were scheduled to be installed Feb. 20, will feature “very low levels of blue light.” Sustainability Director Alexi Lamm said this provides a health benefit as blue light can impact the quality of sleep for humans and causes additional problems for animals.
In December, the city council amended city code to add regulations required by DarkSky International, formerly the Dark Sky International Association, the body that provides the certification.
Utah leads the nation with 23 designations, including Castle Valley, which was certified in January. Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Dead Horse Point State Park also enjoy dark sky certification.
With light pollution already a local issue, Moab has had to work a bit more arduously.
While the lights of Moab can be seen from Dead Horse Point, it’s the neighbor’s outdoor light people see trespassing through the windows of their homes that also drew the city’s interest.
It is that second problem that has “grown worse in the city,” said Lamm in December.
Outdoor lighting also has a negative impact on the environment, she said, as trees don’t go through natural seasonal changes. Moths and birds are distracted, affecting migration.
The city has been working on gaining dark sky certification for five years.
The focus of the recent amendments was on shielding lights so they illuminate downward rather than out or up and on how many hours a day lights can be on. A business would turn off its outdoor lights once it closes, for example, although exemptions include hotels, which might close the front desk at midnight, but would keep the lights on until dawn out of safety concerns.
With the new amendments now approved, the ordinance will amortize on Jan. 1, 2029, at which time residents will have to comply or be approved for a legal nonconforming use. The city has the authority to address “nuisance lighting” before then.
“The biggest complaint is floodlights on garages shining into a neighbor’s window,” Planning Director Cory Shurtleff said in December. There is evidence that such lighting can actually impair a person’s vision. A photo of a floodlighted home made it impossible to see a man who was standing in front of an open gate.
There are myriad reasons to seek dark sky certification, health and safety being key, but there is another, perhaps more practical reason. Southeastern Utah’s dark skies already attract astrophotographers and other star gazers. An overly bright night in and around Moab would deprive them, and residents, from seeing the stars.
There is a program to assist people who can’t afford to change their lighting fixtures at “low to no cost.” The assistance can be applied for on the city website.
This article originally appeared in The Times-Independent.
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The support team of the defendants in the "Tyumen case" summarizes the results of the past two months
In September, Yura Neznamov had to fight for his health and medical care. A neoplasm appeared on his leg. Later it turned out to be a small benign tumor. All complaints about his health were ignored by the doctors of SIZO-1 in Tyumen (where the defendants in the "Tyumen case" are kept). The lawyer wrote a large number of complaints and obtained medical care for Yura.
Over the past few months, the investigation has conducted confrontations between Kirill Brik, who signed a pre-trial agreement, and other defendants: Deniz Aydyn, Nikita Oleynik and Danil Chertykov. In all cases, Kirill Brik confirmed the investigation's version of the existence of a "terrorist community".
In September we finalized the Solidarity Festival. You held a large number of events, actions and wrote a hundred letters in support of the guys. Events in support of the defendants of the "Tyumen case" took place in different parts of the world: Irkutsk, Samara, Istanbul, Togliatti, Lisbon, Yerevan, Vilnius, Tbilisi, as well as online events.
At the beginning of October we launched a new merchandise: zines dedicated to the work of the "Tyumen case" defendants, as well as postcards and stickers. In the zine we collected the best poems and drawings of our guys: Nikita Oleinik, Danil Chertykov, Deniz Aydin, Yura Neznamov and Roma Paklin.
In October, we published an interview with Leonid Bondarenko, a comrade of Nikita Oleinik and Roman Paklin. In August, Leonid's home was searched by FSB officers looking for things belonging to the defendants of the "Tyumen case", after which he was taken away for interrogation. During the interrogation Leonid was threatened and exerted psychological and physical pressure. Now Leonid is safe.
In October, Deniz's appeal hearing on torture was held in the Tyumen Regional Court. The court did not get into the arguments of the defense and once again refused to initiate criminal proceedings against the torturers.
At the end of October the guys had trials to extend the measure of restraint. Deniz, Kirill, Yura, Danil and Nikita were left in custody until the end of January 2024. Roma Paklin is currently undergoing treatment in the Lebedev psychiatric hospital in the Tyumen region and therefore he did not have a trial to extend his preventive measure.
In the last two months, defense expenses amounted to 335,150 ₽. In September, we were able to raise 96,500 ₽. For October, 26,000 ₽ including merch sales.
Our expenses are now far in excess of donations, and the guys have court hearings ahead of them on the merits of the case. Monthly expenses for defense and support of five defendants out of six inside SIZO-1 amount to about 180,000 ₽. The balance on our cards is only enough to partially cover the expenses. In such a difficult financial situation, we need your help more than ever!
We have launched a fundraising campaign on the Firefund platform and ask our international solidarity community to participate in our fight for justice and freedom! You can learn more about the case and support us by transferring an amount that is comfortable for you by clicking on the link : https://www.firefund.net/tumenskoedelo
Thank you for being indifferent and continuing to follow the case! We really appreciate your support. Solidarity is our weapon!
Firms must help menopausal workers, or face being sued
- Published 2 days ago
Menopause symptoms can be considered a disability and employers face being sued if they do not make "reasonable adjustments", a watchdog has said.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) issued the guidance to clarify the legal obligations to workers going through the menopause.
Symptoms can include hot flushes, brain fog and difficulty sleeping.
The EHRC said bosses should offer changes such as providing rest areas or flexible hours to help.
Relaxing uniform policies to allow women to wear cooler clothes could also help.
Menopause marks the end of a woman's menstrual cycle, and usually happens in her 40s or 50s.
Failing to make "reasonable adjustments" amounts to disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 if the symptoms have a "long-term and substantial impact" on a woman's ability to carry out their usual day-to-day activities, the EHRC said.
A video explaining the guidance says: "The costs of failing to make workplace adjustments for staff can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds when taking into account the loss of talent and costs of defending a claim."
What is the menopause and what are the signs?
The EHRC cited research showing that one in 10 women surveyed who worked during their menopause were forced to leave their job due to the symptoms.
Two-thirds of women between the ages of 40 and 60 experienced menopausal symptoms at work, which largely had a negative impact. Very few asked for adjustments during this time because they were concerned about the potential reaction, it added.
The EHRC adds that taking disciplinary action against women for a menopause related-absence could amount to discrimination, and that language that ridicules someone's symptoms could constitute harassment.
EHRC chairwoman Baroness Kishwer Falkner said the watchdog was "concerned both by how many women report being forced out of a role due to their menopause-related symptoms, and how many don't feel safe enough to request the workplace adjustments".
She added that employers "may not fully understand their responsibility to protect their staff going through the menopause", and that the new guidance had been issued to provide advice on how they can support their staff.
Women's health campaigner and author of Everything you need to know about the menopause (but were too afraid to ask) Kate Muir said the announcement was a "side alley" in the wider conversation around menopause.
"It's not a disability," she told the BBC's Today programme. "It's something every woman goes through and legislation is not going to give you your missing hormones back."
Ms Muir said the main focus should be promoting "menopause education" to inform women about "safer kinds of HRT which mean they don't need to have symptoms at all".
She argued the NHS should give women a "proper consultation" when they go through menopause, as she said "good HRT" protects against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
"Those are the messages we should be getting out to women so they can work, be powerful and go through this stage and be happy," she added.
Are you a worker going through the menopause? Please share your experiences by emailing [email protected] .
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways:
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- Women's health
- Employment discrimination
- Published 23 March 2023
'I went through the menopause before my mum'
- Published 27 January