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PBS39 joins PA Department of Education in continued partnership of Learning At Home

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As schools and families wrestle with how to learn while socially distancing this fall, PBS39 has partnered with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the six other Pennsylvania PBS stations in an effort to provide free resources for children and their families in the community: instructional programming that aligns with state standards broadcast over-the-air, and datacasting to bridge the digital divide.

Beyond an updated broadcast schedule, which brings Lehigh Valley families additional learning through PBS39, the Wolf Administration announced Thursday, that it is awarding Pennsylvania PBS stations $8 million in federal funding toward datacasting and $3 million toward datacasting devices. Datacasting uses over-the-air television signals to deliver educational content that can be used on computers without having to access the Internet.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced our schools to rethink and rework how to provide instruction to students who are learning completely at home or in a hybrid model,” Wolf said. “As schools reopen this fall, students need Internet connectivity, computers and other technology, and access to remote-learning platforms. This funding will help our students as we enter the new school year.”

Specifically, the state funding will be used to strengthen public libraries to coordinate work with the Internet Disaster Recovery Center, create Open Educational Resources for students and educators, establish a statewide datacasting initiative with Pennsylvania PBS to connect students to learning content who don’t have access to the internet, and to distribute accessible and assistive technology. This is crucial for the continued success of the commonwealth.

“We already know that Lehigh Valley Learns was invaluable to families in the spring, providing equitable learning at the height of the statewide shutdown. Now, as families grapple with a new hybrid model of learning, we are fulfilling PBS39’s mission to provide students with the best opportunities available, through this generous state funding and the extension of Learning At Home resources,” said Tim Fallon, CEO of Lehigh Valley Public Media.

To find more information about Learning at Home this fall, learningathomepa.org. To learn more about datacasting, visit learningathomepa.org/datacasting. For PBS39 Learning at Home broadcast schedule, visit PBS39.org/LearningAtHome.

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