Indiana students and educators are facing new challenges as the school year kicks off. There are several online tools now available to help students, parents and teachers get ready.

The Indiana Department of Education offers remote-learning resources, such as information on improving internet access, free computers for income-eligible families, recommendations to keep children healthy, and weekly, at-home challenges to complement schoolwork. The IDOE partnered with Indiana Public Broadcast Stations in the spring to connect families to educational television programing and online resources aligned to Indiana’s academic standards. These programs are still available and can be accessed at PBSLearningMedia.org. Parents can find their local station and TV schedule by visiting IPBS.org.

For schools offering in-class instruction, masks are required for students in third grade and higher, as well as for faculty, staff, volunteers and school visitors. The IDOE offers a guide for families to help students adjust to wearing a face covering. Masks are still recommended for younger students and exceptions are made for medical purposes, strenuous physical activity, eating and drinking.

An NWEA report estimates some children could begin the school year up to nearly a full grade level behind their peers in some subjects due to learning loss over summer break and virtual or e-learning due to COVID-19.

To help, the IDOE encourages schools to implement the newly developed Indiana Tutoring Fellowship, which allows older high school students to tutor younger students. The fellowship fulfills the Service-Based Learning Experience under Graduation Pathway Requirement #2, and allows Hoosier students to learn and demonstrate employable skills.

To participate in this program, students must be a high school junior or senior, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and be in good behavioral standing. The IDOE recommends tutoring sessions take place virtually, but if students are permitted to meet face-to-face, social distancing must be followed. Tutors will work with students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

To learn more about the latest COVID-19 resources for Indiana schools, click here. Parents should also check their local school websites for the most up-to-date information.