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 email@example.com and we will respond shortly.
The Literacy Council is maintaining communication with the students served through our programs as well as our volunteer tutors in order to provide information and resources during the COVID-19 crisis. 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.
- Classes held at the Literacy Council and in other locations are cancelled during this period.
- Tutors and students: please 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.
- Meeting virtually for tutors and students: Skype is a free app that can be downloaded on to your desktop computer or smartphone. (You must have a camera on your desktop or phone.) For specific instructions on how to download and install Skype on your PC, email our team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Scrabble Mania for Literacy – We will send updates about rescheduling this event.
These resources, tips, and platforms can help tutors and learners continue learning from a distance during a time of health crisis and uncertainty.
Tools and Platforms
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. https://www.whatsapp.com/
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 https://zoom.us/pricing.
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. internetessentials.com/
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 verizon.com/about/news/our-response-coronavirus for information about Verizon’s services during the pandemic.
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.
- 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 April 30, 2020, to access News for You Online at https://www.newreaderspress.com/news-for-you-online. 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.
- DuoLingo is a language learning app that can be downloaded on a smartphone for additional learning time.
- Literacy Council of Frederick County page dedicated to online teaching and learning resources
The latest updates, facts, and information about the novel coronavirus can be found on the Frederick County Government, Maryland Department of Health website or at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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.
Thank you for your patience as we work together to navigate this developing situation. We will continue to update this page. Stay safe!
Your Literacy Council Staff & Volunteer Team!