Southside lawmakers: Free online learning tools available to Hoosier students, parents

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Thursday, April 9, 2020 12:51 pm

STATEHOUSE (April 9, 2020) – With Indiana school buildings closed for the academic year, there are several online resources available to help students continue learning at home, according to Southside Indianapolis lawmakers.  

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 House Education Committee Chair Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis), 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. 

“This is not how anyone expected to finish out the school year,” Behning said. “As we navigate this pandemic, we have to look at what’s best for students and educators. Unfortunately, that means keeping kids home.”

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. State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) 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.

“The healthiest place for most Hoosiers right now is at home with their families,” Kirchhofer said. “These resources offer students and parents a wide variety of opportunities to learn and grow together during these challenging times.”

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. 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.

State Rep. Dollyne Sherman (R-Indianapolis) 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.

“This is an especially difficult time for high school seniors who are missing out on big milestones like graduation,” Sherman said. “I’m hopeful we will be able to celebrate all their accomplishments this summer when we have made it through this storm.”

According to State Rep. Mike Speedy, (R-Indianapolis), 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, he said the DOE's COVID-19 website also offers information on how to get low-cost or even free broadband service. Hoosiers can also contact their service provider directly.

“Making the switch to remote and online learning brings difficulties for families within our community and across the state,” Speedy said. “Thankfully, there are several internet providers stepping up to ensure students continue to have access to the resources they need to finish the school year.”

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. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 91,
which includes portions of Hendricks and Marion counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo. 

State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) represents House District 89,
which includes portions of Marion County.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Dollyne Sherman (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 93,
which includes portions of Marion and Johnson counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Mike Speedy (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 90,
which includes portions of Marion County.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.