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Georgia spending $6M to boost students’ internet access

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 7:21 AM EDT
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ATLANTA (WRDW/WAGT) – Georgia will dedicate $6 million to help school districts connect students to the internet, according to the office of Gov. Brian P. Kemp.

Georgia has allocated $6 million of its CARES Act funding to purchase equipment for local school systems to improve connectivity options for students who lack sufficient internet 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 in a statement. “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.”

The funds will be used to purchase a variety of connectivity solutions for school districts.

For example, Wi-Fi transmitters can be placed on school buses that may be deployed for food delivery or on other vehicles that can be placed for one or more hours in students’ neighborhoods. Some districts may also choose to permanently affix Wi-Fi transmitters onto residential buildings such as apartments where a lot of students live

The distribution of equipment to school districts is based on the number of student households that do not have access to adequate connections at home, districts’ ability to match a small portion of their own funds for internet-enabled remote learning options, and publication of a simple Wi-Fi transmitter deployment plan on the district’s website.

The announcement came in the same week as Georgia officials said the state received $18.5 million through a Rethink K-12 Education Models grant. Georgia will use its funding to improve the professional learning available to leaders and educators on personalized learning, expand student connectivity and improve the infrastructure of – and expand access to – the Georgia Virtual School. The program is a virtual learning effort directly run by the Georgia Department of Education.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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