#HowWeGotThis | AES & Camps | 2020-2021

Introducing #HowWeGotThis, a series of articles, where the LFSF teams share to which extent the Covid-19 pandemic has been impacting their work and how they had to reinvent themselves and imagine new ways to operate.

For this first edition, Andrew Sobol, our Extra Curricular Activities & Camp Director, explains how his department is adapting to the new normal and what is expected for this upcoming school year.


LFSF: Hi Andrew. So the COVID pandemic has forced everyone at school to re-imagine their way to work. Back in the Spring, you moved all afterschool programs online during the confinement. How are you operating this fall, when the campuses are slowly reopening?

Andrew: We are currently running some on-line programs that we knew could function and run smoothly based on our experiences from semester two of last year and our on-line camps. These activities are: Chess; Cooking; Coding; Reading; Drawing; Drama and Private music classes. Unfortunately, we are still not authorized to run on-site activities and programs (namely athletics and sports) at this stage. We are however, working with our coaches and staff to resume when it is safe and feasible to do so.

LFSF: How does the season look this fall in terms of activities and students participating?

Andrew: We currently have approximately 100 students participating in the on-line after school activities program. We also arranged to work with our Non-Profit partners who can legally organize Out of School Time programs on site. Girls on the Run (off campus) and Super Soccer Stars (on Ashbury campus) are currently happening and we have approximately 30 students from K-8th grades involved with them.

LFSF: How about camps? Will LFSF host camps this school year?

Andrew: We have just been recently informed by the authorities that we can coordinate and conduct a camp this Fall on our Sausalito campus in Marin County for our PreK-5th grades. Obviously, this camp will follow the same COVID-19 guidelines and safety protocols that were used during the 2020 summer camps.  Hopefully, after the New Year, the health conditions will improve and we will be able to plan on resuming normal camp operations for Summer 2021. 

LFSF: How do you see the rest of the school year for your department? Do you have projects you can be working on in the current context?

Andrew: As for many departments, this year will be very different from others. A lot of planning and preparation work is expected. We will have to organize our on-site Fall and Winter camps, prepare camps for summer 2021, work with our partners to provide on-site activities for elementary students on all 3 campuses.  On the Ortega campus that hasn’t yet reopened, we’ll have to put more work into planning the on-site activities once students are back on location. Since we have been allowed by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) to begin training and competition in December 2020, we’re also preparing our High School Athletic Programs, setting up teams and training our athletes. In addition to all this planning management work, we are constantly looking for new, qualified and reliable staff*. All of this requires our department to diligently keep aware of City and State guidelines updates or mandates as they regulate our activities, but also programs and camp operations. We have to be very reactive and flexible in this ever changing context. 

LFSF: What would you say are your greatest challenges and successes in offering activities to our students after school?

Andrew: Our greatest challenge is to continue to offer both on-line and on-site activities and programs year round while prioritizing the safety of our students and teachers. In this complicated context, one major struggle is staffing : identifying, recruiting and retaining certified and qualified staff is particularly challenging.

In terms of accomplishment, I would mention moving many of our activities on-line in such a small time; organizing and conducting online Spring and Summer camps and successfully completing 6 weeks of Summer camps in person, while strictly implementing the recommendations from local health authorities, especially as the number of cases spiked again in July. 


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