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Coronavirus In Ohio: Public Television Stations Launch Home Learning Initiative

PBS Television

WOSU and other public television stations around Ohio are trying to fill the education gap created by shuttered schools. Starting Monday, Ohio’s PBS affiliates are changing programming to emphasize home learning.

“They’re pulling from all the PBS options that we are aware of in order to put together some materials and opportunities for students that, again, compliment what teachers and school districts are trying to do in terms of maintaining some semblance of education and continuity,” says Paolo DeMaria, Ohio’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The goal is to provide age and grade-level appropriate, standards-based programs so Ohio students can continue to learn even if they have limited or no Internet access. Some programming, like PBS Kids series Peg and Cat and Cyberchase, will focus on math skills for early elementary students. Older students can watch NOVA and American Experience

DeMaria says the TV lessons can make a difference for students.

“How can we make the connection between what teachers and the schools are trying to accomplish with students, and making connections to the PBS content that’s being put up there," DeMaria says.

DeMaria says the PBS stations had discussed the best way their programming can help all K-12 students during the coronavirus pandemic, which will likely keep schools shuttered through the end of the academic year.

“They’ve gotten together and are mining the PBS content and have put together broadcast schedules that have opportunities for different grade levels, different subject areas," he says.

Subjects for the programming include math, science, history, social studies and American literature.

“Go to the website of your local PBS TV affiliate, and you’ll find information about teaching resources and what the schedules are going to be like,” says DeMaria.

DeMaria says teachers will know how to incorporate the right programming for their students.

“In so many ways, we’ve come to understand that every child is very individualized in what their needs are, in how they respond to the learning experience, what their particular social and emotional needs are and how we can address those and meet them,” DeMaria says.  “And that’s why a localized approach is what’s going to be most effective.”

The new WOSU TV 34.1 schedule will air from 7:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. each weekday. Program updates will occur each week. A running schedule will be available on WOSU's website.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.