Bartels: Online learning tools available to Hoosier students, parents

Posted by: Jordan Wallace  | Thursday, April 9, 2020

STATEHOUSE (April 9, 2020) – With Indiana school buildings closed for the academic year, State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) said there are several online resources 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 2019-2020 academic year. According to Bartels, 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 school work. He said many schools have already implemented remote or e-learning programs.

"It's not an ideal situation for all students to be learning virtually rather than in person," Bartels said. "Once we saw this virus was going to be around for a while, we had to consider what was best for students, educators and families. In this case, that meant moving instruction to online, trying to keep the public safe and healthy."

Parents can visit 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. Bartels said 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 DOE to offer online programming and resources aligned with Indiana's curriculum standards for K-12 students. Parents can visit PBSLearningMedia.org to find grab-and-go activities, lesson plans, interactive lessons and other materials.

Bartels said the state will continue looking for ways to help schools during the public health emergency and continue to be flexible during this unique time. For high school seniors on track to graduate, the DOE is working to ensure the students receive a diploma.

"While classes are not meeting face-to-face, schools are working hard to deliver quality education to students," Bartels said. "Communities and school corporations are joining forces to ensure the essential needs of students' are being met, like food assistance, since buildings are closed."

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, Bartels said the DOE's COVID-19 website also offers information on how to get low-cost or even free broadband service. 

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. 

For more information about remote learning, visit doe.in.gov/covid-19, or email IDOECOVID-19@doe.in.gov with questions.

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State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74,
which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.