Even when students are in traditional learning environments, the internet is an essential tool to deepen knowledge at school and at home. Now, with mandatory distance learning kicking off this week, internet access is an absolute necessity.
Despite the fact that internet access has become a crucial gateway to continued learning, many WCCUSD families still lack high-speed home internet access. Through no fault of their own, students and families are scrambling to find solutions while the district manages a waitlist for hotspots. Staff have also been making calls to support families in getting online, pointing them to temporary solutions like turning your phone into a mobile hotspot (just remember to check your data plan).
Ultimately, there’s no substitute for reliable, high-speed internet service. Some families may be eligible to participate in special offers from one of the internet service providers currently offering no-cost or low-cost internet access in our area. However, our research into these offers showed that eligibility criteria and sign-up processes may present roadblocks for some families in our community.
We hope this list helps you or someone you know, but ultimately the complexities of applying for these offers and establishing your eligibility drives home how unfair this situation is. It also drives home just how important it is to get as many hotspots out to families as soon as possible.
But with the district’s supply of hotspots insufficient to keep up with the current level of need in our community, what can be done? In the short term we need to find internet solutions to cover the remainder of the school year to enable distance learning to reach all students.
However, children truly need access to the internet year round to be academically competitive. We need a long term solution to support families to be able to access curricular content and resources. This unmet internet need in our community cannot be held by the district alone – it requires an innovative partnership between the district, philanthropic organizations, and corporations.
This is a game changer that can’t wait.