With the COVID pandemic continuing, many schools are faced with having to remain closed to protect the health of their students and teachers. But even after school districts have been attempting to prepare for online instruction for several months now, many are still not able to meet the needs of all their students. There are over 5 million students across the country that do not have computers or internet in their homes so they can study remotely.
Pre-COVID, many of the students without access to technology and internet were already behind their classmates, being unable to research papers, access digital resources, and enter assignments. Known as the homework gap, millions of students across America are already at an educational disadvantage just because they do not have access, disproportionately affecting rural areas and students of color.
We have previously shared stories, even from before the pandemic, of students camping out in the parking lots of Starbucks or McDonald's or public libraries, trying to access WiFi to complete and submit assignments on their phones.
But during the pandemic, the issue is no longer only about homework or assignments, but their entire education. Without access to a computer, students will fall even further behind their classmates. And even if the household has a computer, they still need WiFi. On top of that, if they have several children they need multiple computers to ensure that each child can attend class virtually at the same time.
This year, back to school shopping is going to need to look a bit different. Instead of pencils and paper, families will need to get computers for each of their children and a reliable broadband internet connection so they can participate in class.
If you or somebody you know needs affordable devices and internet, please visit our online store at hitconnect.org or reach out to human-I-T to learn more.