KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — More students are using devices at home to keep learning while school is out, but some kids do not have internet.
Eisenhower Middle School is one of several schools where administrators will be distributing Chromebooks and iPads. Some of the students will take those devices to homes without an internet connection. A homework gap happens when one student has access to the internet and another does not. The student without internet access misses the opportunity to use valuable online resources that could make up for the missed classroom time.
So what can parents do to close the gap?
Spectrum is offering a two-month credit for new customers with school-aged children. The company says because of school closures customers can sign up with no fees for installation or set up.
Another option is Xfinity which has free WiFi hotspots all across the metro. But, you’ll have to drive to a location to get that access.
Edwin Birch, a spokesman for Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools says the district is aware of this potential barrier, and they’re hoping to have the resources to give each student a hot spot.
“We understand those are in high demand as you can expect they are difficult to come by,” Birch said. “We’re keeping our options open to do what we can to find ways to assist students that don’t have the connectivity right now those are things we’re working on.”
Districts across our area rely on Sprint’s 1 Million Project to get some hot spots free or at a low cost. Doug Michaelman, president of 1 Million says there is a large need in the Kansas City metro area, but this is not a new problem.
“The need to ensure connectivity is magnified by the pandemic and administrators are preparing for the future,” Michaelman said. “I’d also like to say with this spotlight shining on the homework gap I think educators and communities will be paying a lot more attention in years to come to ensure education equity.”
KCK families will need to take their child to whatever school they are enrolled in to pick up their device. Pick-up at Eisenhower Middle Schools starts at 7:30 a.m.
There is a board of education meeting Tuesday night where officials will discuss more ways to connect kids with internet.
Right now, there are no plans to deliver devices to students so transportation could be a barrier.
Officials at KCK are asking for volunteer service groups or church groups to offer transportation for students to come pick up a digital device.
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