Vanderburgh County lawmakers share online resources available for students, parents

Posted by: Jordan Wallace  | Monday, April 13, 2020

STATEHOUSE (April 13, 2020) – With Indiana school buildings closed for the academic year, Vanderburgh 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. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville), 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. She said many schools have already implemented remote or e-learning programs.

"When the governor initially issued orders for school buildings to close for a few weeks, school staff worked together to transition classroom material online or organize packets for students," McNamara said. "Now that we're continuing virtual learning for the remainder of the year, my heart goes out to the Class of 2020 who won't get to experience senior year celebrations, but hopefully we can come up with some innovative solutions to mark this milestone for them."

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. Holli Sullivan (R-Evansville) 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.

"Educators are using available resources to ensure students are staying engaged in their coursework while not making it overwhelming for parents and children," Sullivan said. "Although e-learning is not ideal for everyone, if keeping kids home for their health and to slow the spread of the virus is necessary, then that's what we'll do."

She said 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 wnin.org. Students and parents can also visit PBSLearningMedia.org to find grab-and-go activities, lesson plans, interactive lessons and other materials.

According to State Rep. Matt Hostettler (R-Fort Branch), 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.

“Even with school buildings being temporarily closed, the priorities are that our children stay safe while learning," Hostettler said. "Local schools and educators are doing a tremendous job communicating with families and students to share resources and let those in need know what services are available."

Most schools are providing food to students in need, with many offering meals at pick up 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, Hostettler 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.

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. Matt Hostettler (R-Fort Branch) represents House District 64,
which includes Gibson County and portions of Knox, Pike, Vanderburgh and Posey counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo. 

State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) represents House District 76, 
which includes portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo. 

State Rep. Holli Sullivan (R-Evansville) represents House District 78,
which includes portions of Vanderburgh and Warrick counties.
Click 
here to download a high-resolution photo.