St. Joseph County lawmakers: Free online learning tools available to Hoosier students, parents

Posted by: Allison Vanatsky  | Monday, April 13, 2020

STATEHOUSE (April 13, 2020) – With Indiana school buildings closed for the academic year, State Reps. Dale DeVon (R-Granger) and Tim Wesco (R-Osceola) 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 DeVon, 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.

"Most Hoosier parents don’t have experience in a classroom and may not know where to begin when getting their child the resources needed to stay engaged in their education,” said DeVon, chair of the House Family and Human Affairs Committee. “Thankfully, our state and local education leaders are working tirelessly to ensure all families can access critical tools so kids can finish the year."

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. DeVon 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 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.

Wesco 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 their diplomas.

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, Wesco 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 provider directly.

"Due to the coronavirus outbreak, life as we know it has changed drastically in order to keep our family and neighbors safe," Wesco said. "This is most evident in our schools. However, local districts are committed to making the transition to remote learning as easy as possible and providing all families the tools to succeed."

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. Dale DeVon (R-Granger) represents House District 5, which includes portions of St. Joseph County.

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State Rep. Tim Wesco (R-Osceola) represents House District 21, which includes portions of Elkhart and St. Joseph counties.

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