Keeping Students Connected During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Bowling Green, Ky. (April 7, 2020) - In today’s technology age, the internet is used for much more than just connecting with friends and family; it helps us pay our bills, stay up to date with current news, apply for jobs, and even get an education. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the internet is now a necessity for many people to maintain their day-to-day routines, especially for students.
To slow the spread of the COVID-19, almost all K-12 Ohio schools have switched to online learning. Yes, this may be an effective alternative way of teaching, but it creates problems for students who do not have high-speed internet access at home. Those students are being left behind because of a lack of resources.
According to statistics from ohiobythenumbers.com, nearly 1.7 million students attend public schools in the state of Ohio. Connected Nation Ohio (CN Ohio) survey results also showed that 25 percent of respondents said they have school-aged children who do not have at-home internet access. By applying that figure to the number of kids statewide, that gives us an estimate of nearly 418,000 students without home internet service across the state.
“Too many of Ohio’s kids are going without the instruction they need simply because they do not have adequate access to broadband,” said Tina Lyden, State Program Director, Connected Nation Ohio. “For many of these children and their families, libraries were one solution for the need for internet access, but because of the response to COVID-19, libraries are understandably closed. That means we must find other ways to help those who find themselves on the wrong side of the Digital Divide—so that all of Ohio’s children can continue their education.”
In this critical time, we need to find better ways to connect these students. According to the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, nearly 12 million school-aged children in the U.S. lack adequate internet access. This limits students' ability to complete their work creating a “homework gap.”
But now that almost all students are learning from home due to the coronavirus outbreak, the need for better broadband access is much higher. Without it, students will fall behind and not be able to complete their required work.
“We’ve long talked about the Homework Gap in this country, but what’s happening now is much worse: We’re moving to a School Day Gap,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, Connected Nation. “Children without internet access are getting no instruction at all now that schools across the country have closed. Depending on how long we find ourselves in this situation, this gap could affect their lives for years to come and even pose a generational problem if solutions aren’t found.”
We are in need of closing the Digital Divide now more than ever. Connected Nation can use your help in supporting our mission. Head over to our website www.connectednation.org and share some of our articles to raise awareness!