May 30, 2020
Tziporah Tiller, College Intern
Ohio has extended the stay-at-home order until the end of the month and schools will remain closed for the rest of the year. In a normal school year, schools already have to combat summer learning loss. However when school starts in September, parents and educators are also worried about “corona learning loss” as well. A national study on “Understanding coronavirus in America” from the University of Southern California found that nearly 25% of parents fear their children will not be prepared for the next school year because of school closures.
Governor DeWine has stated that students will not have to repeat this school year. For some students, this is welcome news during a time of so many disheartening updates. For other students, this means moving to the next grade without fully grasping the material and increasing the risk of falling behind.
The disruption caused by COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities. 56% of households earning $30,000 or below have access to broadband internet and “more than 1/3 of low-income families do not have access to computer and internet”. Many students are then left with limited ways to complete their homework and connect with their teachers and peers. But there are ways families can help their children stay on track during this abnormal and difficult time.
Below are some Ohio specific and national resources families can utilize to ensure their children’s educational needs are still being met:
- In March, PBS altered their programming so as to fit at-home learning. Every weekday from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM, PBS will air shows tailored for different grade levels and subject matter. This will also be in conjunction with their online learning service, PBS Learning Media, which offers lessons in all subjects and for all grade levels.
- Wide Open School, in partnership with Scholastic, Google, Noggin, and other companies, is offering at-home lessons and live events for students PreK – 12th They have a daily schedule tool to help students stay on track with their work. In addition to these tools, they also offer lessons for English Language Learners and those with learning differences.
- First Book is delivering anywhere from less than 100 to over 5,000 free books to schools to distribute to their students. (They are accepting donations to deliver more than 8 million books nationwide, if interested you can donate here.)
- First Book also has an online marketplace offering books, e-books, digital lessons, and more for little to no cost.
- National Geographic and Cengage are providing free lessons on COVID-19 for students of all grade levels.
- Khan Academy offers free lessons in every grade level and subject.
- Scholastic Learn at Home arranges 20 days worth of learning for children in grade levels preK through 9th
- For those in the Akron area, the Akron Children’s Museum posts new challenges for kids ages 0-10 and posts weekly virtual learning activities on their Facebook.
- Back in February, Ohio partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to deliver free books to any child 5 and under. To receive your monthly deliveries, you can enroll at Ohio Imagination Library.
- To those who possess a library card, Ohio’s public libraries offer access to free e-books and audiobooks through Overdrive, online arts and crafts projects through Creativebug, online learning, and documentaries and movies through Kanopy. Visit https://oplin.org/fal/ to check where your nearest local library is and visit your library’s website to see the resources they offer.
There is still much uncertainty on whether schools will remain closed come September. There is a possibility of continued remote learning or even a “blended” system where some students continue virtual learning while others attend school in the physical buildings. Regardless of which option is chosen in the fall, it is important that families are made aware of the above resources and more resources are widely accessible so our children do not fall behind.