After an image showing two students doing their homework outside a fast-food eatery, the students get a welcome gift from the California school district
A California school district makes the shift to remote learning easier for two students after gifting them a home hotspot.
In a viral photo, two children are shown camped in the parking lot of a local Taco Bell to complete their schoolwork, using the fast-food restaurant’s free Wi-Fi. Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo shared the photo to show the plight of some students as they start the school year with remote learning.
I’ve notified both Superintendents of Alisal Union & Salinas City Elementary School Districts as that area is the dividing line between both in Salinas. These students likely from Sherwood Elem. Asked for staff to look out for students in this situation &troubleshoot connectivity pic.twitter.com/MBvIo0gEJC
— Luis Alejo (@SupervisorAlejo) August 26, 2020
According to CNN, the students were identified by the Salinas City Elementary School District who provided the family with a hotspot device so the students could log-on to their digital classrooms from home.
The report says the district has given out over 8,000 Chromebooks, 1,500 hotspots, and are waiting on 2,500 more hotspot devices.
Read More: US faces back-to-school laptop shortage
Although the two students in the photo now have access to the internet at home, they highlight a larger problem for many across the country. The coronavirus pandemic has pushed many school districts to online learning, however all students are not equipped to learn from home.
“Salinas Valley is 45 minutes from Silicon Valley and here we have such a huge divide that’s gone on for years but now it’s only amplified because of this pandemic,” Alejo says to CNN.
“We know that there are thousands of other kids in a similar situation. In Salinas, there’s a lot of homes and a lot of parents who don’t even know how to use computers or how hotspots work.”
Data from Common Sense Media, published by the news outlet, find approximately 15 to 16 million kids and as many as 400,000 teachers lack adequate internet or computing devices at home, with the biggest digital divide in southern states.
“Technology is so critical and we cannot view it as a luxury, it’s a necessity of life, it should be seen as a utility like water, electricity, and gas,” Alejo said to CNN.
According to Common Sense Media, the digital divide is most pronounced in rural communities and households with Black, Latinx, and Native American students. Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama show the largest deficit by proportion, and Texas, California, and Florida show the largest gaps by population.
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