CHARLOTTE, N.C. — So many children in our area are learning from home using computers and tablets to log into school every day.
But for tens of thousands of them, it’s not as easy as turning on their computer and connecting to the internet.
Channel 9’s education reporter Elsa Gillis spoke with a teacher about the strain it’s putting on families and the efforts to quickly solve the problem.
Druid Hills Academy teacher Keith Burgess said his school and many others are working through not only the Canvas and Zoom issues, but the reality that some families don’t have reliable internet access.
“Anytime your dealing with something new there are going to be some bumps along the road,” Burgess. “We’re figuring it out, but it’s like fixing the airplane while we are in flight, we’re doing it, it’s just taking a little while, we’re just asking that parents have patience.”
Right now, he said about 25-30 families from his school are on a waiting list for home internet access, which is a fraction of the 16,000 students districtwide without reliable connectivity.
On Friday, The CMS Foundation announced the expansion of its COVID-19 Relief Fund through its “Connect for Tech” campaign. The money will be used to provide 12 months of internet service to students without home access as school buildings remain closed due to COVID-19.
Following school closures in March, the Foundation raised more than $1 million to purchase 6,000 mobile hotspots for students without home internet. Now, at the start of a new school year, the number of student that lack home connectivity has more than doubled.
“It is but it’s not surprising, we are a country don’t value internet as we value other public utilities so those of us who have worked in this work for a while, it’s not shocking to us,”said Alyssa Sharpe with Digi-Bridge.
Digi-Bridge is a nonprofit working with the CMS Foundation to help raise the money needed to provide internet access to families.
CMS has invested nearly $1 million to purchase 16,000 hotspots. Now, officials are trying to raise $3.2 million to provide 12 months of internet service for every household with a CMS student that is struggling for access.
According to Sharpe, it takes about $240 to provide a hotspot for 12 months for a family.
“If you have $240, think about the impact that could have on a family less fortunate. If everyone can support one child, two children, the corporate community I urge them to step up, because as I mentioned our future depends on it,” she said.
If your family is struggling with internet access, make sure your child’s school knows.
Anyone who wants to help, can donate online here or text “GIVETECH” to 44-321. Contributions made payable to CMS Foundation can also be mailed to 4421 Stuart Andrew Boulevard, Suite 100,, Charlotte, NC 28217.
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