COVID-19 Revealed New Roles for Cities to Create a Continuum of Support for Youth and Families. They Shouldn't End with the Pandemic

May 2021

As part of CRPE’s ongoing exploration of learning pods, we wanted to understand cities’ involvement in this new model of learning. We searched city websites to identify learning pods either operated, supported, or promoted by city agencies in the 100 largest cities in the U.S., and found:

  • About one-third (36 percent) of the largest U.S. cities operated or sponsored learning pods during the pandemic.
  • Of learning pods supported or led by city governments, over a third (35 percent) were operated in partnership with other institutions.
  • Most learning pods are focused on childcare and remote learning support, but some go further to fill gaps they observed in student and family supports.

We offer recommendations for what city-led education support should look like post-COVID. In recovery after the pandemic and beyond, city governments could:

  • Act as a sponsor to build quality, connected out-of-school programming across the city.
  • Leverage relationships with local industries to support quality career-connected learning opportunities.
  • Build city- or CBO-led learning pods as a long-term option.