As new coronavirus spreads, know your online and at-home learning options 

By: National School Choice Week Team

 

Find our list of free educational resources for parents here!

 

The new coronavirus, COVID-19, is affecting many students’ learning, triggering state-wide class cancellations and shifting in-person classes online. Around the U.S., more than 95,000 schools are closed, were closed and have been reopened, or are scheduled to close, impacting more than 43.9 million students. As families evaluate how to keep their children safe and healthy while still learning, we have compiled the following resources to help families navigate these unique times.  

Many of these educational resources require internet access. Note that, due to the coronavirus emergency, Comcast has announced that it will be increasing speeds for its Internet Essentials program and offering new, low-income customers 60 days of complimentary service. To sign up, visit their webpage. Similarly, Charter is offering 60 days of free access to Spectrum Wi-Fi for households with K-12 and/or college students who do not have a Spectrum subscription. Families can enroll by calling 1-844-488-8395.

 

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How will Coronavirus impact my child’s school?

The answer depends on where you live and what school your child attends. As of March 18, 39 states have closed schools. Your local school or school district should provide updates on their COVID-19 plans, including whether a meal distribution plan is available. In addition, this map from Education Week tracks school closures nationwide and is being updated at least twice a day. 

How long will disruptions last?

It’s unclear. Some schools and school districts have shut down till at least early April. Some states, like Kansas, have announced that schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year. It’s unlikely that COVID-19 will disrupt an entire year’s worth of schooling. However, your child may be out of school for at least a few weeks, so you may want to discover more about your options for learning from home.

How are schools and districts adapting to Coronavirus? 

As COVID-19 spreads, thousands of schools are switching in-person classes to videoconference classes.  In addition, one of the largest online education providers, K12 Inc., has offered resources for parents and school districts needing more flexible education options due to the coronavirus. Many other online learning platforms are also offering free resources to educators amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

online learning offers flexibility in times of health concerns, such as the new coronavirus

Can I switch to a virtual school?

Some families affected by COVID-19 have expressed interest in signing up for online school. Across the country,  375,000 students already attend online school in the U.S., and these options are available in more than half of U.S. states. Online schooling usually offers flexible schedules that can accommodate a variety of health needs. 

 

For more info about how full-time online school works, and to see a directory of online school options by state, click here. 

 

I’m interested in homeschooling. How do I get started?

Every state has its own homeschooling policies. But, parents in every state have the freedom to educate their children in the home. 

Some education experts anticipate that COVID-19 may generate increased interest in homeschooling. For example, Kevin Carey, vice president for education policy at New America, has said that the coronavirus could lead to “a vast unplanned experiment in mass home-schooling.”

Currently, approximately two million students in America are homeschooled. Some families have tried this outside-the-box education choice full-time and never turned back! Even if this education option isn’t your long-term plan for your family, there may be a season of life where it becomes the right fit for now.  

 

Discover more about homeschooling rules and resources in your state here. 

 

What can I do to augment my child’s learning if school is cancelled? 

Fortunately, there are more educational resources accessible from home than ever before. Here is a list of free education resources you and your student can use to continue the learning journey, even if classes are cancelled. As long as you have an internet connection, you can use these online resources to unlock hours of learning:

Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/) – Khan Academy offers free courses of all grade levels to help students master subjects and accelerate their learning. Through these courses, Kahn Academy allows students to personalize their learning and learn at their own pace. 

PBS LearningMedia (https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/) – PBS LearningMedia provides students with free lesson plans, videos, and games aligned with standards they are learning in the classroom.

TEDEd (https://ed.ted.com/) – TEDEd brings lessons to life for students through animation. TEDEd’s goal is to ignite curiosity among learners. To do this, TEDEd collects the best teacher lessons around the world. Then, it turns them into shareable animated videos for students.

PowerMyLearning Connect (https://powermylearning.org/learn/connect/) – PowerMyLearning Connect offers curated learning from a variety of online platforms. K-12 students can access free content in all core subjects and many electives, with the ability to choose standard aligned lessons. 

BrainPOP (https://www.brainpop.com/) – BrainPOP provides animated interactive lessons, quizzes, and games for core subjects and a variety of electives. 

No Red Ink (https://www.noredink.com/) – No Red Ink is a free resource for online writing and grammar practice. 

Lumosity (https://www.lumosity.com/en/) – Lumosity offers free brain games to keep student minds actively engaged. For example, the games use problem solving, critical thinking, and memory to keep students on their toes and strengthen their skills. 

Duolingo (https://www.duolingo.com/) – Duolingo helps students keep up with foreign language skills. Duolingo offers 30+ languages so students can start learning a variety of languages that interest them. Or, students can use Duolingo to practice the foreign languages they are already learning in the classroom. 

EVERFI (https://everfi.com/partners/k-12-educators/) – EVERFI offers free supplemental lessons for the whole student in areas of Finance, SEL, Health, College/Career Readiness, and related topics.

Edmentum’s Study Island for Home (https://www.studyisland.com/parents) – Through Edmentum’s Study Island for Home, parents can access trusted K-12 programs tailored to state standards. Families can receive one year free by using the code: EdmentumSupport2020. Note that registration will require a credit card and you will see what looks like an auto-renewal, but Edmentum will not auto-renew or charge your credit card.

Carnegie Mellon University’s CS Academy (https://academy.cs.cmu.edu/coronavirus2020) – Looking to introduce your kids to Python programming? CMU CS Academy is a free online, interactive high school computer science curriculum. By signing up for a mentor account, families can access the CS0 course. This course includes about 40 hours of instruction and is intended for middle school, out-of-school programs, and summer camp settings. 

 

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Where can I learn more about coronavirus’ impact on K-12 education? 

To get a better sense of how COVID-19 is impacting K-12 education, check out these articles:  

COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel, by the U.S. Department of Education

What could happen if the coronavirus closed schools for days, weeks, or even months, by Ashley Fetters and Timothy McLaughlin 

Talking to Children about COVID-19: A Parent Resource, by the National Association of School Psychologists 

Children and Coronavirus: 4 Questions Answered, by Sarah D. Sparks

 

For our list of free educational resources for schools shifting online, click here! 

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