Governor Jared Polis promises to give students free Wi-Fi hotspots and access to internet ready devices for 34,000 low income households

Governor Jared Polis promises to give students free Wi-Fi hotspots and access to internet ready devices for 34,000 low income households

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The Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis has promised to give students free Wi-Fi hotspots and access to internet ready devices for 34,000 low income households. Polis held a news conference today (2/9/2020) at Fort Logan Northgate School in Denver to provide further updates on a major challenge many students in the state have encountered during the Covid-19 crisis.

Polis says an estimated 65,000 Colorado students lack access to the internet. In an effort to help families with remote learning, the governor announced an agreement with T-Mobile that will provide free Wi-Fi hotspots, up to 100 gigabytes of annual data and access to internet ready devices for 34,000 low income households.

“The estimate from the education initiative in the department were about 65,000, Colorado families don't have high speed access at home for their kids. This number served out of the T-Mobile program is about half that, so it's in the 30 thousand’s. 

Now that doesn't mean that it meets half the need because some of the people that the T-Mobile service will benefit might already have access but it'll save those families, you know, $10, $20 $30 a month, which is also a big deal," Polis said. 

The criteria for free service is based on free and reduced school lunch eligibility. Gov. Polis discussed the racial and economic factors effecting families access to the internet across the state including homelessness, credit history and immigration status.

“Even worse, this access divide often falls along racial lines. Recent research from Colorado future center found that two thirds of students that lack internet access in Colorado, are Latino. 

In addition, we know that families experiencing homelessness, including many families and districts like Sheridan and DPS have an even more difficult time with access to the internet and being able to maintain that continuity of study for their kids without broadband without access. 

Students are unable to participate in remote learning.They're often unable to do their homework, if they're in school or in person. And they're more likely to disengage, and more likely to fall behind” Polis said.
                                     
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