Philadelphia is making efforts to ensure that free internet access is granted to all its K-12 students. This is to make sure that these students have the necessary resources to engage in remote learning during the Coronavirus pandemic, especially as in-person classes in schools are to stay closed in the city this fall.
During this spring, the Coronavirus forced the closure of schools; this has made the city to team up with partners and foundations to generate funds, which will help in offering access to broadband free internet for 35,000 kids. It’s clear that these efforts have yielded positive results, as Philadelphia unveiled a program this week that will ensure this move goes forward.
PHLConnectED will ensure that households of eligible students are connected with high-speed internet for two years, without any installation fees or out-of-pocket expenses.
Utilizing the Internet Essentials program of Comcast, this program will also make sure that K-12 public school students are provided with the needed devices (i.e. tablet or laptop), as well as tech support to ensure smooth running.
Recently, the Philadelphia School District distributed more than 128,000 devices to those students who don’t have them at home. The Charter Schools and the School District will keep making efforts, working with families and schools to provide the necessary resources for these students to succeed.
PHLConnectED is just the first phase of the larger “digital equity” initiative of the city to support access and digital literacy for all residents in Philadelphia.
A large fraction of this funding is got from private foundations, which includes Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation’s donation of $7 million, $1 million donated each by Philadelphia School Partnership and the William Penn Foundation, and others. Also, the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that the city will devote $2 million in local CARES Act funding.
Mayor Jim Kenney revealed that it was a “transformational moment” brought about by the pandemic, stressing that the program will do much in ensuring the closure of digital divide.
Featured image source: PHLConnectED