GEORGIA — Gov. Brian Kemp and state school superintendent Richard Woods announced Thursday that Georgia will allocate $6 million of its CARES Act funding to provide school districts the resources to connect students to the internet.
The money should be used to purchase the necessary equipment to ensure there is no connectivity problems for students who may not have enough access at home.
“While the internet access gap has come into sharper focus during the COVID-19 pandemic, securing connectivity for all of Georgia’s students is a long-term need,” Kemp said.
“This initiative will ensure schools and districts are prepared if distance/virtual learning is needed in the future but will also expand the horizons of thousands of students long after the pandemic ends,” Woods said.
Each district should use the funds to solve connectivity problems in their district which includes but is not limited to WiFi transmitters on the school buses.
Schools can opt to put WiFi transmitters on apartment buildings or other places where a lot of the students live which can be a permanent solution to connection issues.
The equipment will be given directly to the school district to use from now on, this equipment does not have to be returned when the pandemic is over, or the school year ends. The Georgia Department of Education will cover the data charges from August 2020 to May 2021.
“This is a major step to address the gap for this school year so that all Georgia’s children have access to learning opportunities in and out of school,” Kemp said.
Since some districts are offering virtual learning during the pandemic, high speed internet is necessary to ensure a more equitable education system in the long run.
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