In response to COVID-19 and the call from community partners in Tampa Bay, the University of South Florida’s Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships moved quickly to facilitate collaborations for online mentoring and tutoring. By utilizing resources at the University and community organizations’ close ties to families in Hillsborough County, a new pathway to prevent K-12 learning loss during COVID-19 emerged.
USF’s College of Education recognized the urgency for practicum students and student tutor employees to continue learning and working during the pandemic. College of Education (COEDU) students were connected with local community organizations to host online tutoring and mentoring sessions with K-12 youth. The central mission of the program was to prevent K-12 learning loss during COVID-19 in Tampa Bay while COEDU students continued their education and employment in the spring/summer semesters. Key stakeholders across the University also provided support to transition from in-person to online K-12 student support.
These efforts sought to build the foundation for an online mentoring and tutoring model for the COEDU, as well other departments and colleges at the University, and additional community partners in Tampa Bay. Actions steps, lessons learned engaging stakeholders, and discussion of implications to strengthen community engagement for a post-COVID-19 world will be discussed.