Coronavirus & COVID-19 Updates

Coronavirus & COVID-19 Updates

Dear Literacy Council Students, Volunteers & Supporters,

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and based on guidance from Frederick County and state public health officials, the Literacy Council’s office is currently closed. The health and safety of our volunteers, students, staff and community is our top priority.  While our physical office is currently closed to the public, our staff and volunteers are working remotely to provide needed assistance. Please leave a message at (301) 600-2066 or and we will respond shortly.

The Literacy Council is working closely with the adult learners served through our programs as well as our volunteer tutors in order to provide information and resources. Now, more than ever, our students need to be able to understand public  health alerts, communicate with health professionals, their children’s teachers, and their employers — as well as to continue their learning.

Updated tools and resources for Basic Literacy and English Language Learners to continue learning from a distance, access the internet, and utilize free online materials are provided here and are updated regularly.

  • We are now transitioning spring classes online! For further updates, email:
  • Spring Volunteer Information Sessions are now online. Register HERE.
  • Tutors and students: While we ask you to refrain from meeting in person, we encourage you to continue working together through other means that can be done online such as via WhatsApp, Skype, Google Hangout or simply by telephone.  See the Tools and Platforms information below, as well as multiple resources to help continue learning from a distance during a time of health crisis and uncertainty.
  • Tutor updates will be sent regularly and you are invited to join regular online Tutor Chats! Email for upcoming dates.
  • Our Scrabble Mania for Literacy spring fundraiser has been cancelled, however, we invite you to celebrate our sponsors and silent auction contributors by viewing this special Tribute Book!
  • Our Scrabble Mania for Literacy Silent Auction will be going LIVE! Stay tuned for dates and online access!

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources:

Call 211 Maryland or 866-411-6803 to reach the local 211 center in Frederick, MD for questions about COVID-19 and to find mental health and health resources

CDC Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

CDC (Spanish language site)

CDC (Chinese language site)

Maryland Department of Health

Governor Larry Hogan updates

Frederick County Government updates

Frederick County Joint Information Center (JIC)

Frederick County Public Schools: Latest updates on resources for learning, technology and meals.

COVID-19 quizzes below in English and Spanish

Futuro Sólido shares quizzes in English and Spanish to counteract hysteria and promote smart decisions that will protect employees, the workplace, and our community.

English quizzes:

Spanish quizzes:

Tools and Platforms 

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is an easy-to-join way to conduct video calls between instructors and learners. Google is now rolling out free access to the advanced Hangouts video-conference capabilities for education customers until July 1. Click here to learn more.


Similar to Zoom or other software, Skype is an easy way for instructors and leaners to communicate. You can download and access Skype for free.

While this is not an exhaustive list, these are some of the more popular, free tools to explore for helping programs continue communication between administrators, instructors, and learners.


Fast, simple, secure messaging and calling app for free*, available on iPhone and Android phones, Macs or PCs all over the world. *Charges may apply, check local rates.


A web-based software that allows groups to communicate via phone and/or video. A webinar version also allows users to share their screens, allowing programs to show documents needed during instruction. During the pandemic, for the free, basic version of Zoom, the 40-minute time limit has been lifted. Apply online at

Tutorials on using Online Platforms

Zoom tutorials (YouTube)
Khan Academy (webinar – PA Adult Education Resources)
USA Learns (webinar- PA Adult Education Resources)
Google Classroom (website)
Google Classroom (YouTube)
Google Hangouts (YouTube)

Basic Computer Skills Tutorials on GCF Learn Free

Tips for Providing Instruction from a Distance

Regardless of what platform or online instruction you provide, some additional tips for conducting learning include:

  • Keep in regular contact with learners. This can be done through phone, text, or email. Keeping in contact to remind learners about lessons or to make sure they’re engaged is important.
  • Using a tool such as Zoom, Skype, etc. so that instructors and learners can meet “face-to-face” is best. Most of these tools also allow you to share documents or curricula you want the learner to focus on.
  • Stay on your current lesson plans as much as possible for consistency.
  • Use texting for a supplement to instruction
    • Send a short text that the learner can read and respond to
    • Send vocabulary words
  • Use supplemental instructional resources (such as those listed in this document) to keep learners engaged and practicing while learning from a distance
  • Use teleconference or phone conference systems (or simply phone calls) to practice conversation groups, especially for ESL learners

English as a Second Language Resources

You’ll find beginner to advanced activities here, or you can use the shortcuts listed below. Pick a few activities that are appropriate for your student’s level, and send them the links via text or email.

Memory Games




English with Numeracy

  • News for YouOnline—FREE access to a weekly publication for adult learners that uses current event articles and human interest stories to engage learners’ interest while building skills in reading, comprehension, and vocabulary. Use the courtesy password 22667F through June 30, 2020, to access News for You Online at News for You Online includes a Tips for Teachers section where instructors can find the video How to Use News for You Online and other helpful resources. There are several articles related to COVID-19 with more being added in the coming weeks.
  • Learning Upgrade—Free 4-month pilots available for an app that provides over 900 English and math CCRS-aligned lessons to help accelerate growth in literacy, ESL, ABE, and HSE classes. Special expansion packages available for providers with a current Learning Upgrade license.
  • DuoLingo is a language learning app that can be downloaded on a smartphone for additional learning time.
  • CrowdED Learning:CrowdED Learning provides free learning tools that reduce barriers for adult learners’ education and employment while promoting persistence and lifelong learning in the digital age.LINCS Learner Center:The Learner Center links to federally-funded resources for learners. It is organized around goals such as “Learn to Read” or “Learn English.” All resources are free, online, and ready for adult learners to engage with at any time.USA Learns:USA Learns is a free website to help adults learn English online.
  • Literacy Council of Frederick County page dedicated to online teaching and learning resources

Resources for Helping Learners Access the Internet

EveryoneOn offers broadband service to income-eligible families (for example, those that qualify for free or reduced school lunch, or who live in public housing) at a cost of around $10-12 per month (varies from state-to-state). Some states also offer very low-cost laptops or desktops ($100-200).

Several internet providers are offering discounts or free internet services during the time of the pandemic:

Comcast offers income-eligible families internet access at $10-12 per month. However, they are now offering this low-cost service for free for the next 60 days.

AT&T is waiving data overage fees to all customers so that families and students can stay connected during the pandemic. They will not terminate service of any customer over the next 60 days. All AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data. Additionally, AT&T will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through the Access from AT&T program.

Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free—including non-Xfinity customers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, click here.

Verizon is waiving late fees and committing to no discontinuation of service during the next 60 days. Visit for information about Verizon’s services during the pandemic.

Thank you for your patience as we work together to navigate this situation.  We will continue to update this page. Stay safe!

With appreciation,

Your Literacy Council Staff & Volunteer Team!