TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford is pointing parents and students toward online learning resources while schools are closed due to COVID-19.
Ford says the "learn at home" online portal doesn't replace school, but is meant to address parents' concerns that kids will fall behind during this period.
The resources offer interactive activities for elementary students and a focus on STEM courses for high school students.
Many of the online activities are from TVO, the province's public broadcaster.
Its television schedule is also being changed to add more educational programming for kids during the day.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce has ordered the school closure for two weeks following March break.
Ontario is reporting 50 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total in the province to 308.
That's the largest single-day increase in new cases.
The total includes five resolved cases and two deaths.
No information is listed for about half of the new cases, but two people are listed as being hospitalized and four are in a long-term care home in the Durham Region.
It's not yet known how the four people in the long-term care facility — ranging in age from 60s to 90s — contracted the virus.
TVO sent the folllowing release detailing the learning products that will be available during school closures:
TVO today launched a new learning initiative designed to provide enhanced access to a host of TVO digital learning products during the current school closures.
Launched as part of the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Learn at Home program, the initiative provides online, easy access to learning tools for students from K-12.
Through direct online links, students will be able to engage a host of learning tools on demand, free of charge and barrier free.
TVO Mathify offers free 1 on 1 online math tutoring with Ontario Certified Teachers for students in grades 6-10. During the school closures, tutors are available from 9am to 9pm Monday through Friday and Sunday 3:30pm to 9pm for students wishing to build their math understanding and confidence with a personalized math coach.
TVO mPower offers more than 65 free online games that help students master tough-to-learn K-6 math, STEM and social science concepts. All games are Ontario curriculum-based and designed to bolster foundational skills and inspire a love of math.
TVOkids is well known for the 13 hours of award-winning educational content it broadcasts every day, as well as its educational videos, games and online content supporting the Ontario curriculum. As part of the Learn at Home initiative, TVOkids has added The Power Hour of Learning to its broadcast schedule every day from 9:30-10:30am, providing school aged kids with stimulating curated educational content each morning.
In addition to the popular TVOkids YouTube channel, three new subject-specific channels have been launched:
Mathematics – A YouTube channel carefully curated with content to support JK-Grade 3 core math curriculum, helping kids learn math in a way that is intriguing and fun. Visit the TVOkids Mathematics channel.
Science and Technology – A YouTube channel supporting JK-Grade 3 core science curriculum where kids can learn from fun science experiments – and even try some of them at home. Visit the TVOkids Science and Technology channel.
Language – A YouTube Channel where kids join an imaginative world where learning language is paramount. These videos are designed to promote the growth of language skills and a love of reading. Visit the TVOkids Language channel.
Beginning Monday, March 23, TVO ILC also invites students to join our free online TVO ILC Open House, where they can keep up with their studies or deepen their understanding through an open preview of all our 144 grade 9 to 12 courses.
“The COVID-19 emergency has changed how Ontarians live, work and play in a matter of weeks, and TVO services are evolving along with the needs of the people we serve,” said Chris Day, TVO’s Board Chair. “Making digital learning products more widely available will hopefully be welcome news to learners and their families, and our current affairs programming will continue to keep Ontarians informed.”
“TVO is proud to be part of this important initiative by the Ministry of Education,” said Jennifer Hinshelwood, TVO’s Acting Chief Operating Officer. “TVO’s suite of digital learning products is designed to stimulate and engage young minds in learning – a mission that seems doubly important at times like this when many of our traditional learning environments are not accessible.”
As a digital learning and media organization, TVO is committed to supporting learning for Ontarians of all ages. We are poised to continue serving Ontarians with our impactful digital learning products, in-depth current affairs, thought-provoking documentaries, and innovative TVOkids content.
Since 1970, TVO has existed to ignite the potential in everyone through the power of learning. Through impactful digital education products, in-depth current affairs, thought-provoking TVO Original documentaries, and award-winning TVOkids content, we prepare Ontarians for success in school and life. As we mark our 50th year, TVO’s ongoing evolution as a modern digital learning and media organization prepares us to serve Ontarians for generations to come. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario, and is a registered charity supported by thousands of sponsors and donors. For more information, visit www.tvo.org and tvokids.com.
Where to find TVO
Rogers Cable HD 2 & HD 580
Bell TV 265
Bell Fibe TV HD 1209 & SD 209
Shaw Direct HD 155
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2020.
The Canadian Press