Text overlayed a teacher answering student's questions.
March 17, 2020

COVID-19 Resources for Caretakers

For the health and safety of 826CHI students, volunteers, and staff, the 826CHI office will be remote for the foreseeable future. Though from afar, we are working hard to support our greater Chicago community. Upcoming blogs will offer resources for sustaining the health and well-being of caretakers, freelancers, and artists & entertainment during this pandemic. 

School closures have suddenly transformed daily life for many of our community members. 826CHI recognizes the herculean efforts of parents and caretakers, particularly working parents and caretakers, who are doing their best to keep the young people in their life calm and engaged while in quarantine. In an effort to support our many community members who are at home with young people, we’ve compiled favorite resources about talking about COVID-19 with youth, engaging students in remote learning, and accessing food and supplies during this crisis. 

How do I talk to the young people in my life about COVID-19?

Just for Kids: A Comic Exploring Coronavirus

This comic, illustrated by NPR’s Malaka Gharib, is an easy way to inform young people about staying safe, calm, and nondiscriminatory during this pandemic. There is a zine version available for you and your students to make together!

Reviews.com: Protecting Your Kids and Homes During COVID-19 Crisis
We all need to make sure during the stay-at-home order we are safe and prepared. The article we created is here to take the weight off your shoulders by including tips on how to protect your kids and property while at home, ways to reduce in-home exposure risks to COVID-19 and create a safe environment during stay-at-home orders, and a downloadable PDF to help parents easily streamline all emergency contact information for their children.

ATTN: Social Distancing Can Save Lives

For when your young ones have questions about why everyone is self-isolating, ATTN: provided this video example of how powerful it can be for one person to stay inside.

Parenting in the Age of Coronavirus

A small but growing Facebook group of parents who are sharing information about physical and social/emotional family health during this pandemic.

Teaching Through Coronavirus: What Educators Need Right Now

This article from Teaching Tolerance offers guidance for talking to young people about COVID-19, tools for managing COVID-19 anxiety in your family, and best practices for online and distance learning.

How do I engage my student(s) to learn while we are socially distancing?

826 Digital | Sparks Archive

For grades 1-12: Straight from the source! The 826Digital Sparks archive has 39 writing prompts to spark your student’s creative brain. Send us your favorite writing inspired by 826 Digital prompts at info@826chi.org or tag @826CHI on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. 

The Online Student's Guide: Tips for Academic Success

For grades K-12: Details on 9 of the most important tips for online students (or students who have found themselves thrust into online learning environments).

Varsity Tutors | Virtual School Day

For grades K-12: Over 100 free live classes available all day long intended to help parents fill their children’s day with enriched learning. Some popular classes are "Intro to Spanish for Kids", “Coolest Women in History”, “Java Programming Basics”, and “The Story of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”. We have received exceptional ratings from thousands of parents and students.

Varsity Tutors | Virtual Summer Camps

Free half-day summer camps will be a week-long, with enrichment-based classes in subjects like foreign languages, chess, theater, coding, Minecraft, how to be a detective, photography and more. These live, interactive classes will be taught by expert instructors vetted through Varsity Tutors' platform. We already have 200 camps scheduled for the summer.

Common Sense Media | Free Online Events and Activities for Kids at Home

For grades K-8:  A crowdsourced list of virtual entertainment for the family, offering free lessons, tours, and concerts that you can check out from the safety of your home.

IXL Math

For grade K-12: IXL Math helps students master essential skills at their own pace through fun and interactive questions, built-in support, and motivating awards.  

E-Learning for Kids

For grades K-6: Free high-quality digital primary education, based on grade level curriculum goals, for children around the world.


For grades PreK-6: ABCya provides 400 fun and educational games. Their activities are designed by parents and educators, who understand that children learn better if they are having fun. Games are categorized by grade and subject, and cover topics such as multiplication, parts of speech, typing, pattern recognition, and more. 

PreK-12 Comprehensive Resource Kit

For grades Prek–12: Comprehensive educational resource packets for families. These packets include a range of activities that students can work on at home independently, with family members, or with other adults.

National Geographic Kids

For grades K-8: Find amazing facts about animals, science, history, and geography, along with fun competitions games, and more!

Teaching Remotely for Grades K - 12 | Free Resources and Strategies

For grades K-12: Scholastic is providing free cross-curricular learning journeys for elementary and middle school students. From fruit and veggie vocabulary to an exercise about the K-Pop boom, professionals have collected resources to support students and their families and make sure that school from home can still foster creativity and wonder. MI Teacher Lit News has also shared Online Educational Resources for Grades K-12, including a sample daily schedule for students learning remotely!

How Parents Can Keep Kids Busy (and Learning) in Quarantine

For grades K-12. This article from The Atlantic features suggestions on turning your home into a classroom from Michelle Martin, a professor at the University of Washington’s Information School and the founder of a youth literacy program, and Allyssa McCabe, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell who specializes in youth language development.

Make Beliefs Comix

For grades K-8: A fun classroom resource to teach students about the news. Students can create their own comics, greeting cards, and read free e-books!

How do I access food and supplies during the crisis?

Chicago and Illinois COVID-19 Resources Page

A comprehensive list of Chicago relief resources.

Find Food | Greater Chicago Food Depository

The Greater Chicago Food Depository is amping up the services of their soup kitchens, pantries, and produce mobiles to ensure that all Chicagoans have access to fresh, healthy food. Enter your address to find a location near you!

A Guide to COVID-19 and Your Finances: What You Need to Know

In light of the pandemic, many businesses and individuals have been impacted. Here is more information about the economic impact, small business help, federal benefits - along with much, much more.

Chicago Public School Food Assistance for Families

All CPS schools will serve as food pickup sites. CPS families can pick up three days of meals at a time, two meals per child.

Free WiFi at any Xfinity hotspot

Simply select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser. They are also offering free Internet Essentials for qualifying families. 

Low Cost WiFi with Comcast

Comcast is offering very low cost, high speed internet to low income families.

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