Local lawmakers highlight free online learning tools for students, parents

With Indiana school buildings closed for the academic year, State Reps. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, and Chris May, R-Bedford, have announced several online resources are available to help students continue learning at home.

To slow the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Eric Holcomb recently issued an executive order requiring all K-12 schools to provide instruction through remote learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.

Lucas, a member of the House Education Committee, said schools are working with the Indiana Department of Education to create continuous learning plans to ensure education is still happening and students keep up with their schoolwork. He said many schools already have implemented remote or eLearning programs.

"Teachers and parents want to be able to help students reach their goals before the end of the academic year," he said. "These tools are excellent resources to help students in all grades finish strong."

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Parents can visit www.doe.in.gov/covid-19 and click on "Remote Learning Resources" to access educational tools, including free online classes for all grade levels covering multiple subjects. There’s also a parent toolkit with information on how to help students finish the school year strong, along with STEM activities, educational games, virtual tours of museums and zoos and more.

Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations recently teamed up with the Department of Education to offer television programming and online resources aligned with Indiana’s curriculum standards for K-12 students.

May said parents can find their local TV program schedule through the Department of Education’s COVID-19 website or by visiting their local IPBS station website. Students and parents also can visit pbslearningmedia.org to find grab-and-go activities, lesson plans, interactive lessons and other materials.

"Remote learning is a new reality for many Hoosier children and parents," May said. "It doesn’t replace the valuable classroom experience, but there are many online resources available to help students continue their education."

The state will continue to look for ways to help schools during the public health emergency and be flexible during this unique time. For high school seniors on track to graduate, the Department of Education is working to ensure students receive a diploma.

Most schools are providing food to students in need with many offering meals at pickup locations. Each district has a different policy, so parents should check their school district’s website for specific information.

For households with limited or no internet connectivity, May said the Department of Education’s COVID-19 website also offers information on how to get low-cost or free broadband service. Hoosiers also can contact their service provider directly.

Parents and guardians in need of child care during this time can visit childcarefinder.in.gov to find options near their home or on the way to work; however, children displaying any signs of sickness should remain home until they are better.

Lucas represents House District 69, which includes portions of Bartholomew, Jackson, Jennings and Jefferson counties. May represents House District 65, which includes all of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties.

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For information about remote learning, visit www.doe.in.gov/covid-19 or email [email protected].