As libraries and schools close amid Coronavirus concerns, many families are losing their access to internet, education, news, free gathering places, and more. Below is a list of a few companies that are offering services free during our social distancing attempts. If you know of more, please comment on this blog post and I will add them!
Comcast Internet Essentials
Beginning Monday, March 16th, Comcast is offering 2 free months of Internet Essentials to low-income families who are new customers. Speed has been increased, and there is no term contract, credit check, or equipment shipping fee.
Xfinity Wifi Open
Comcast has also announced that their Xfinity Wifi Hotspots, typically only usable by Comcast customers, are available to anyone who needs them. They have also paused their data plan and added new educational content collections in partnership with Common Sense Media.
Keep Americans Connected Pledge
Under the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, AT&T has suspended broadband data caps from home internet customers, Comcast is raising internet speeds, and Verizon is waiving late fees for customers and small businesses.
Microsoft is providing a free trial of Teams premium plan, allowing users to record meetings and use 1 TB of storage. This trial is available for 6 months.
Google is allowing free access to Hangouts Meet for all G Suite and G Suite for Education users until July 1, 2020. It allows up to 250 users per call, meeting recording, and livestreams for up to 100,000 viewers.
LogMeIn is providing free Emergency Remote Work Kits for nonprofits, educational institutions, and health care providers. These kits provide “solutions for meetings and video conferencing, webinars and virtual events, IT support and management of remote employee devices and apps, as well as remote access to devices in multiple locations.
OpenSesame is offering free eLearning courses on the following subjects until May 15: Coronavirus Preparedness, Infection Control and Illness Preparedness, and Working Remotely.
LinkedIn is making some of its learning content free, including 16 courses on remote working.
School Library Journal has opened online access. They have also created a list of online professional development opportunities for library staff and many other excellent lists on their website.
The New York Times
If you sign up for a free account, you can access news and guidance regarding the coronavirus from The New York Times for free.
The Washington Post
Subscribe to the Coronavirus Updates newsletter for free access to relevant stories from The Washington Post.
Students & Teachers
Scribd is offering a free 30 day membership to their library, providing access to books, audiobooks, magazines, and documents.
Audible has curated a collection of free titles for while the schools are closed. Content ranges from Littlest Listeners, Elementary, Tween, Teen, Literary Classics and Folk & Fairy Tales for All and is available in six languages.
Resources for Pre-K Learning
School Library Journal has put together an excellent post on advice for Pre-K learning while schools and libraries are closed.
Meals from PA Dept of Education
The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced that they will still be providing offsite meals to children in low-income families when schools shut down. More information is provided by your local school.
Scholastic Learn At Home
Scholastic has created learning experiences for kids in grades Pre-K through 6+. These experiences are designed to work on any device, not require printing, and provide approximately three hours of interactive learning opportunities each day.
UHaul is providing 30 days of free self-storage to new customers with college IDs to assist with displacement during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Distance learning tool Kahoot! is offering its premium services for K-12 schoosl and higher education free during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Capital Blue Cross Virtual Care
From now to April 15, Capital Blue Cross customers can particpate in Virtual Care visits for free.
NPR has assembled a list of free at-home concerts that are taking place while more and more places shelter in place.
Many authors and illustrators, including Oliver Jeffers and Mo Willems, are working towards creating regular content to keep you entertained. Visit your favorite authors’ social media to find out if they’re doing anything. (They’re probably bored while social distancing, too!)
Go for virtual tours of many of the world’s famous museums!
The Metropolitan Opera has announced that starting March 16th, it will stream encores of past performances for free.
The National Theatre plans to stream previously filmed productions on their Youtube channel and keep them available for a few days following the stream.
Home With Kids?
This website gives ideas for keeping young kids occupied at home, all based on the simple supplies you might have available.