Yandex launches covid home testing and online school

This story initially appeared in East-West Digital News, an international news resource covering the Russian innovation scene.

Like other Russian majors, Yandex is demonstrating its commitment to combat Covid-19 through a series of initiatives. The latest one is Yandex.School, a free online education platform which the search giant created “in record time” using its existing educational programs.

Launched on March 31, Yandex.School helps teachers, students and parents “retain a sense of normalcy during the COVID-19 crisis.” Video lessons are organized by grade, so that the students are learning the same material as they would learn at school.

Educators are provided with easy-to-use tools to continue teaching the national curriculum for grades 1-11 across Russia’s 11 time zones. They can use Yandex.School as a single resource or incorporate it into other remote learning programs.

Some functionality is also available in Belarus and Kazakhstan, two neighboring Russian-speaking countries.

Yandex.School lessons were viewed over 2 mio times in the two weeks period since the launch of the platform, with more than 40K students logging into a lesson simultaneously, according to the company.

From online information to home testing

Yandex has also created a single online resource for all things related to the coronavirus. When searching for “coronavirus” or related keywords on Yandex.ru, a search page presents users with a panel summarizing all information on the virus in one place. The coronavirus dashboard includes symptoms, how to protect one’s self and others, statistics on the outbreak, the latest news, and more. 

The Internet company also announced that it will soon offer “safe and affordable home testing for coronavirus” as part of its Helping Hand social initiative. At first, the service will be offered to residents of Moscow of 65 or more years of age.

“As the availability of laboratory tests grows, service will become available to people of all age groups and will expand to other Russian regions,” says the company.  Testing will be performed through a network of partner laboratories.  Yandex will be covering the costs of the first 10Ktests for people at greatest risk as part of its previously announced RUR 250 mio coronavirus fund.

This initiative is supported by the sovereign wealth fund RDIF.

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