Popular after school program goes digital to keep students active in New York City

NEW YORK CITY -- For so many kids, hours of online learning have been followed by online programs after school amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have this thing called study hall," student Savyon Jiminez said. "You study before basketball, so It was helping me with my grades."

Jimenez has stayed on track with "Play Study Win," an after school program that serves hundreds of kids at seven middle schools in four boroughs and continued to do so during the pandemic.

"We literally provided them with activities they would have if they were attending after school Monday through Friday," program director Darren Sanchez said.

Basketball class went online, student thespians reenacted movies, and aspiring activists created podcasts.

All 125 staff members have kept working, offering support to kids during these tough times.

Related: Lauren Glassberg reoprts that for so many kids, hours of online learning have been followed by online programs

"I think that connection with the staff and kids was absolutely the reason why our kids kept logging on consistently," said program supervisor Kieran Burns said.

But as school winds down, so do the after school programs and the consistency that comes with them. Everyone knows nothing is certain for the fall.

"We've built such a good foundation, but if we are going to start September with remote learning, we can build and plan and make it stronger," Burns said.

And that's of some comfort to stressed-out parents, many of whom still haven't even sorted out plans for the summer.