Children of all ages in metro Atlanta are now forced to learn at home after school closures due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Georgia Department of Education offers updates, links to help families, teachers

Helpful information and links this morning from the state Department of Education:

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues and all Georgia public school facilities are closed, many resources are available to students, parents and families to ensure children have access to food and learning opportunities.

The Georgia Department of Education is working with state and local partners to provide school meals for students, donate digital devices to students in need, and provide support for learning in the form of digital resources, teacher training, and instructional television programming. 

“In a time of difficulty, we are working to ensure all Georgia students are safe, fed, and able to continue learning,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “That is our priority, full stop. I encourage educators and parents to take advantage of the resources GaDOE and other partners are providing, and I deeply appreciate the work they are doing day in and day out to support Georgia’s children.” 

Keeping Students Fed

Food insecurity for students who rely on school meals is a major concern during school closures. On March 13, GaDOE received approval of its request for alternate meal service flexibility from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and, to date, 184 applications have been approved. 

These districts are serving meals for students using bus routes or at approved sites within the community. Click here for a list of school meal information by school district compiled by Georgia Public Broadcasting, or check your local school district’s website and social media accounts. 

“We have received many inquiries from Georgians interested in volunteering to support these efforts,” said Dr. Linette Dodson, GaDOE School Nutrition Director. “We deeply appreciate this support of Georgia’s children and encourage interested individuals to reach out to the School Nutrition Director in their local school district, who will have the most accurate information about local needs and safety protocols.” 

For families in need of additional food assistance, visit Foodfinder – a safe, secure mobile and web app that allows families to locate free food assistance programs quickly. FoodFinder was created and is still run by a 2015 graduate of Gwinnett County Public Schools, and its team is currently working to add all school-closure meal sites to the app. 

Keeping Students Learning

Faced with an unprecedented scenario, Georgia’s districts, schools, and teachers are finding creative ways to stay connected with students through distance and virtual learning. GaDOE is working to ensure they have the resources available to do so. 

Knowing all students do not have access to reliable internet or devices at home, GaDOE is partnering with the Georgia Foundation for Public Education and Verizon to donate digital devices to children around the state who don’t currently have access. These devices will be preloaded with educational software and books and can be used to support school districts’ existing distance learning plans. 

GaDOE and Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) have partnered to launch the Georgia Home Classroom initiative, which includes instructional TV broadcasts aligned to Georgia’s state standards, along with a library of digital learning resources. Click here to access the digital resources along with the TV broadcast schedule. 

GaDOE has also curated extensive training opportunities and resources for educators, including free online courses for teachers new to virtual learning and instructional resources organized by content area. Click here to access resources.

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About the Author

Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.
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