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WTVP To Launch Remote Learning Channel For K-12 Students

Tim Shelley
WTVP President and CEO Lesley Matuszak during the Peoria City/County Health Department press briefing on Wednesday, May 20.

WTVP is partnering with the Peoria County Regional Office of Education to launch a new channel dedicated to remote learning.

The channel — WTVP Remote — will be available to more than 200,000 households, regardless of whether they have access to internet or cable.

That’s according to Lesley Matuszak, president and CEO of WTVP.

“Kids, parents and caregivers will remember these past few months as the time when school transitioned from the classroom into the living room,” she said. “The internet has become the channel of choice for distributing educational content to students. The only trouble with this is that not everyone has access to internet, cable servers, or even a computer.”

Matuszak said that means thousands of low-income, urban and rural residents were almost completely cut off from instruction after the governor’s first stay-at-home order.

WTVP Remote will help bridge the virtual divide, Matuszak said, by broadcasting in 20 counties — about a 70 to 90 mile radius around Peoria.

She said the content of WTVP Remote will be coordinated with Regional Super Superintendent of Schools Beth Crider, based on lesson plans for K-12 students. The channel will pull from extensive WTVP and PBS libraries.

Matuszak said content can also be created locally in the WTVP studios to meet certain curriculum needs. And she said the service will continue to operate even after the pandemic has passed.

“In future situations where we may be forced to bring the classroom back in the home — that could be weather-related conditions, it could be summer school, natural disasters, or so forth — this channel will be 24/7,” she said.

WTVP Remote will be up and running by the time students are supposed to return to school, Matuszak said, but certain elements will go live sooner.

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Dana Vollmer is a reporter with WGLT. Dana previously covered the state Capitol for NPR Illinois and Peoria for WCBU.