PBS offers at-home ‘classes’ on TV for kids as coronavirus spreads in USA

NOVA “Transplanting Hope” Emergency Room

 Our world has been turned upside-down with the current coronavirus health crisis that Trump was slow to acknowledge in the U.S. (in this reporter’s opinion).

Inaction has forced our daily lives to change. To deal with it some people deny, some panic, some buy every roll of toilet paper they can find. None of that does anybody any good. So bless those who figure out how to add some “normalcy” and “smarts” to these strange times.

Let’s give kudos for some “normalcy” with At-Home Learning for kids thanks to PBS SoCal and KCET, Southern California’s flagship PBS organizations. Go to kcet.org/at-home-learning.

 Now that schools are shutting down in many places and kids must stay at home, the good folks at PBS SoCal and KCET have come to the rescue with TV classes. Working quickly, an unprecedented partnership was formed between the Los Angeles Unified School District and the public television stations to broadcast educational content for kids Pre-K through 12th grade. The At-Home Learning Programs are now airing on PBS SoCal, KLCS, and the Burbank-based KCET, which has a 54-year history of serving the LA community.

Although these daytime TV classes are designed for youngsters and students, adults can learn something too.

CYBERCHASE: “Space Waste Odyssey” on PBS

To help with a continuity of learning during the coronavirus school closures, LA Unified students can receive educational resources via television broadcasts. The plan is for all students to have access to free educational resources at home provided by the local public media organizations, both on-air and online. The broadcast content specifically targets kids Pre-K through the 12th grade. The efforts have become a model for other partnerships between public television and school districts throughout the U.S., as PBS SoCal and KCET work together to deliver a satellite feed that other public stations can use across America.

 “As education is one our organization’s highest priorities, we want to harness the power of public media in assisting all students in Southern California,” announced the President and CEO of KCET and PBS SoCal Andrew Russell. “As cornerstone institutions in our community, PBS SoCal and KCET have a mission to connect communities so we’re already talking to stations throughout the state, and even across the country, to follow our model.”

 This important educational effort began when Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner reached out to Paula Kerger, CEO of PBS in Washington D.C., and Russell at PBS SoCal, concerned about the lack of access many diverse/low-income students and their families might have to online learning. LA Unified and a team from PBS came up with the best standards-based instructional content they could find for a curriculum with math, history and other subjects.

 Programming resources include the Emmy-winning NOVA series, and the Ken Burns In The Classroom series of his many historical documentaries including THE CIVIL WAR. Burns’ acclaimed shows have been repackaged meaningfully for classrooms. Plus many PBS KIDS series including Peg + Cat, Cyberchase, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood are part of the Pre-K through 2nd grade “classes” on TV.

 The primetime schedules for both KCET and PBS SoCal will remain the same PBS programs and original local content that viewers expect and have come to love. And, if viewers need an entertaining escape from all the Coronavirus Pandemic news…how about some British murder mysteries? Oh, the irony! The new seasons of the British mystery-dramas DEATH IN PARADISE and FATHER BROWN are set to premier Monday, April 6th on KCET, and many PBS stations elsewhere.

Social-distancing, self-isolation, self-quarantining—yet there is a way to get smart and stay connected as Trump’s mishandled coronavirus spreads in the U.S.A. (in this reporter’s opinion). Yet with smart people trying to help us we’ll all get through it together.

 Tune in PBS.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.