While all public school districts around Arkansas will be closed on Tuesday and remain that way through March 20, there’s still a need for students to be educated.
PBS and Arkansas PBS are among the organizations stepping up to fill that gap.
Nationally, PBS said in a release, “as many families and teachers face school closures, PBS KIDS and PBS LearningMedia are offering a variety of tools to help support learning at home.”
That would include educational videos and “related skill-building offline activities.”
While locally, PBS said affiliates, like Arkansas PBS, would, “continue to serve as resources” for parents and also “support families and teachers.”
What direction that takes is still being decided, as of Monday afternoon, said Arkansas PBS CEO Courtney Pledger.
“We are in discussions on the opportunity to assist Arkansas school districts, are exploring the possibilities and making it a priority,” she said in an email and added, “It’s an evolving opportunity.”
With school expected to resume on March 31, the Arkansas Department of Education also said plans were afoot as well.
“We are working on this, but I don’t have any details yet regarding next steps,” said Kimberly Mundell, the department’s director of communications, in an email.
Other states have already forged similar partnerships.
PBS SoCal/KCET in Los Angeles and KLCS, another public station in L.A. that is managed by the Los Angeles Unified School District are making changes on-air, daytime programming.
And, “will feature programs intended to provide students continued engagement opportunities with educational content,” KLCS said in a statement released on its website.
The move would allow for students, who don’t have access to the internet at home, to continue getting an education.
The KLCS programming would be geared towards students in grades 3 through 8, while KCET would be for high school students as well as those in preschool through the second grade.
PBS has a total of 330 local affiliates that reach 152 million Americans through its broadcast and digital platforms.
Other steps PBS is taking include programming on Covid-19 from PBS NewsHour, and will air at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 19. A Frontline documentary titled “Coronavirus Pandemic” will follow on Tuesday, April 21 and an episode of “It’s okay to be smart” focused on how to prevent the spread of germs and will be available on digital platforms.
PBS NewsHour also has a dedicated webpage, which is updated regularly on coronavirus news.