Norwalk Public Schools is among Fairfield County districts offering free meals to students during the coronavirus school closing.
Norwalk Public Schools is among Fairfield County districts offering free meals to students during the coronavirus school closing. Photo Credit: Nancy Guenther Chapman

Free WiFi, Meals, Distance-Learning Tips To Ease Burden In Coronavirus School Closures

Is your head spinning with fear of the spread of coronavirus to your family? Figuring out how to work remotely while keeping your children occupied? Ready or not, Connecticut parents started homeschooling their kids Monday morning, March 16.

To help ease the burden, internet provider Altice USA began offering free WiFi through its Optimum broadband service Monday, March 16, to households in their service area with K-12 and college students that don't already have it. Call 866-200-9522 for information about the 60-day enrollment.

“We know that our connectivity services, especially broadband and voice, are essential for fostering learning for students, powering our local businesses, and keeping our communities connected,” said Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei, in a statement.

Many of the school districts have arranged for free meals to be provided for school children during the closing.

Bridgeport Public Schools is offering breakfast and lunch at 20 city locations listed here and Norwalk Public Schools and Chartwells began providing free daily breakfast and lunch to all students age 18 and under via school buses to most stops. Click here for the details. And Stamford Schools offer "grab and go" meals at various sites for those 18 and under. Here's more information on it.

Reassuring messages to parents from school officials began last week and continued all weekend.

Greenwich Public Schools Superintendent Toni Jones urged parents in a Saturday letter to be "flexible."

"It is important to note that distance learning will look and feel different than a face-to-face classroom. This is a new process for our staff, administration, teachers, students and parents," Jones said.

"While our staff has collectively worked hard to thoroughly prepare, we ask for your patience and partnership as we work through challenges and celebrate our triumphs. Stay flexible! We will change and adapt as we gather feedback and input on what is working well, and what we can tweak to make this experience better," Jones said.

College kids were home from closed dormitories and ones not on spring break were resuming classes online away from campuses.

Eighty-five percent of those surveyed, according to Avery Morgan, a senior editor and director of communications at EduBirdie, a web-based education and writing platform, actually expressed they felt "excited" about the shift.

Morgan suggested older learners block out noise and get busy. Tips include:

  • Find an empty room with no TV and distractions to do schoolwork.
  • Use headphones to block out noise and focus on the lesson.
  • Practice good time-management habits like making a to-do list and set aside a specific time slot to work on assignments.