With more than 55 million children at home from school in a historic move to contain COVID-19, schools are scrambling to find ways to keep students learning through online resources and the new digital class.
I’ve seen some very amazing and creative ways that students have met recently, like these talented kids performing concert remotely. Likewise, smart ideas from officials like this dean flow from morning announcements, to preserve something like a routine during this “new normal.”
However, without access to a computer and an internet connection, millions of children will miss … learning opportunities, and even just the basic ability to stay in touch with classmates and friends. An estimated 18 million school-age children do not have home internet. In normal times, this has a major impact on their ability to learn. When the classroom is completely online, it is weak for their learning and their future prospects. This is not well.
I am delighted at the fantastic work being done across the country in real time as schools, administrators, teachers and companies come together to quickly form solutions for these kids. In the new T-Mobile, I’m incredibly proud of the work the teams have done – both the old Sprint and the old T-Mobile – working around the clock with regions across the country.
We have temporarily increased data allowance for schools and students in our T-Mobile EmpowerED program and 1Million Project Foundation to ensure every participant gets the connection he needs.
We have worked in partnership with other companies and provide more flexible service options for students’ communication solutions. Sprint also offers 1Million Project Foundation funding and additional resources while increasing the demand for free calling solutions.
Last month, teams helped more than 500,000 students in more than 820 schools and educational districts across the country to obtain on-site communication solutions.
Connecting students across the country
T-Mobile and Sprint have already worked with some of the nation’s largest school districts to quickly access the Internet for needy students, including in Atlanta, New Orleans, New York City, Sacramento (Elk Grove), St. Louis and more.
When the capital’s public schools were closed, they quickly implemented a plan to distribute technology devices for students to access school work from home. The T-Mobile for Education team helped provide 5,000 hotspots for students who lacked adequate internet access at home.
“Technology is an urgent need for our students to continue their education while learning at home, and DCPS is proud to work with partners who can help us ensure that families have the resources they need at this unprecedented moment,” said school counselor in Lewis UK. D. Ferebee.
In the hard-hit Seattle area, the Northshore School District was one of the first schools in the country to attempt to solve the digital divide problem in the current climate. There, school officials started working, and with T-Mobile for Education, it provided 850 hotspots for these students offline when schools closed, setting a standard of care for the entire nation.
“Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the closure of schools, our area had taken steps to reduce inequality in terms of access to technology for every student, including computing devices and hotspots at home,” said North Shore supervisor Michelle Reed, Ed. “We are very grateful to T-Mobile and the support of our electors who approved Technology Levi, when the outbreak of COVID-19 forced our schools to close, our families were ready to connect. However, we as teachers still face technology and Internet inequality across our region and our nation, which makes it It is essential that we continue this conversation to ensure that our students’ zip code does not limit their access to digital learning. “
Schools in rural areas are at a disadvantage,
with a disproportionate number of students without an internet connection. This includes the Frederick County Public School District in Maryland, where many families do not have sufficient internet access at home. T-Mobile for Education was able to quickly help provide more than 1000 hotspots for kids who had no internet at home.
And in San Francisco, one of the first areas in the country to receive a request to stay in place, the mayor turned to organizations like the 1 Million Project Foundation to nurture an innovative new approach to keeping students in touch. Starting the week of April 13, Wi-Fi SuperSpots will be placed in public housing sites, community centers and other high-density areas across the city to ensure San Francisco students stay in touch.