MONTPELIER — The state has partnered with Vermont PBS to provide educational programming to students, with the goal of supplementing remote learning during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The partnership with Vermont PBS will give over 83,500 students access to free, high-quality educational resources via television broadcast and online content, complementing distance learning efforts by Vermont school leaders, according to a media release from Gov. Phil Scott's office.
"We know schools have to reach students of all ages and in all corners of Vermont, including areas without robust connectivity," said Secretary of Education Dan French in the release. "While this is tremendously challenging for our educators, they are stepping up to provide both hands-on, non-digital lessons and online learning on a variety of platforms. Having one more widely-accessible and high-quality tool available will be helpful to their efforts."
Vermont PBS is using two statewide channels to broadcast content for pre-K-12 through the end of the school year.
A full schedule of programming was set to start April 6, and includes paired lesson resources for educators and students.
Monday through Friday, on the Vermont PBS Main channel, 7-9 a.m. will include content for pre-K-grade 3 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. will feature content for grades 4-8, according to the release.
Content for grades 6-12 will be broadcast on the Vermont PBS Plus+ channel from 12-5 p.m., also on weekdays.
Weekly schedules are subject to change and are published online.
Both channels are broadly available on all cable systems, and available for free over the air through a digital antenna without the need for cable subscription or broadband internet access, according to the release.
The programming is aligned with national and customized-to-Vermont standards, and includes interactive lessons and paired suggested activities, according to the release.
The main channel will feature award-winning programs like Nature, Nova and American Experience, along with Peg + Cat and Xavier Riddle, according to the release.
The plus channel will offer science, history and English programming. Vermont PBS is collaborating with WGBH-Boston to provide educational content and resources geared to middle- and high-school students,according to the release.
Educators and families will also be able to access the PBS site and additional strategies and resources on AOE's website.
The coronavirus has spread worldwide since it was first identified in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. Vermont, like many other states, has implemented aggressive social distancing measures aimed at slowing the spread of the disease, including dismissing all pre-K-12 schools for in-person instruction for the rest of the school year.