The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed practically every aspect of life, including education.
Many states, including Indiana, have ordered the closure of all schools. Last week, Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb signed an executive order requiring all K-12 schools to deliver remote education for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
In response to this order, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced a new $2.6 million E-Learning Fund last Wednesday to help low-income students and their public schools in Marion County navigate the sudden switch to remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Several local stakeholders, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway, have helped establish the fund, which will support immediate and long-term solutions for student access to technology, county-wide social-emotional learning strategies, and launch an e-learning lab open to all schools in Indiana.
“Indianapolis Motor Speedway is proud to join this critical effort to support our students, families, and educators during this difficult time,” said Penske Entertainment Corp President and CEO Mark Miles. “We know this collaborative partnership will make a meaningful difference in helping our students access vital education tools from home, including providing technology access and connectivity to households in need. We’re pleased to take part in this inspired effort to help our children and our community during this crisis.”
The Indianapolis E-Learning Fund will address four focus areas:
Technology access: Support for Marion County traditional public, public charter and innovation network schools to address short-term needs for accessing devices and internet connectivity for students from low-income families and for students who live in communities with unreliable access to the internet and/or limited broadband capacity.
County-wide e-learning strategy: Support for the development of a county-wide strategy for e-learning that will identify supports needed and address both immediate and long-term needs.
County-wide social-emotional learning strategy: Support for the development of a county-wide strategy for social-emotional learning needs for students, both while at home and upon their transition back to the school building.
Statewide e-learning lab: Support for the launch of an e-learning lab for all schools in the state. The lab will provide early e-learning adopters a platform for sharing best practices with all schools, as well as professional development opportunities to support teachers and administrators. The lab will also equip students and families with the necessary tools for the successful implementation of remote learning.
Individuals or organizations who wish to contribute to the fund can visit indy.gov/elearning to make a donation and learn more.