Bartholomew County lawmakers highlight free online learning tools available to Hoosier students, parents

Posted by: Lydia Kirschner  | Thursday, April 9, 2020 12:06 pm

STATEHOUSE (April 9, 2020) – With Indiana school buildings closed for the academic year, Bartholomew County legislators 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 State Rep. Ryan Lauer (R-Columbus), 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.

"The technology and resources we have today are going to help our young Hoosiers successfully complete their school year from home," Lauer said. "These tools are great for students e-learning, and also beneficial for parents and teachers."

 State Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) said 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. 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.

"This toolkit can equip parents with great classroom lessons and projects to finish the school year," Eberhart said. "That includes bringing real-life educational destinations right to their homes. These tools can keep students engaged and spark the mind as we finish the school year this spring."

 Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations recently teamed up with the DOE to offer television programming and online resources aligned with Indiana's curriculum standards for K-12 students. State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) said parents can find their local TV program schedule through the DOE's COVID-19 website or by visiting their local IPBS station website. Students and parents can also visit PBSLearningMedia.org to find grab-and-go activities, lesson plans, interactive lessons and other materials.

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

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.

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

Parents and students can also find helpful resources by visiting the Bartholomew County Public Library online at mybcpl.org/kids.

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.

Residents are reminded to stay up-to-date with the Columbus and Bartholomew County COVID-19 Task Force response by visiting covid19communitytaskforce.org.

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State Rep. Ryan Lauer (R-Columbus) represents House District 59,
which includes portions of Bartholomew County.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) represents House District 57,
which includes Shelby County and portions of Bartholomew and Hancock counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) represents House District 69, which includes
portions of Bartholomew, Jackson, Jennings and Jefferson counties.
Click 
here to download a high-resolution photo.