As many students and teachers cross the threshold into a full year of remote learning, AT&T and leading nonprofit Connected Nation are continuing work to put the connectivity solutions vital to education into the hands of those who need it most.
AT&T recently announced that two local Oregon organizations will receive more than 450 free hotspots as well as free internet connectivity. Centro Cultural de Washington and Long Creek School District are part of more than 100 organizations and school districts that will benefit from a $10 million commitment first announced last year to provide free internet subscriptions and wireless hotspots to 35,000 vulnerable students across the country. 1
An estimated 17 million K-12 students nationwide and 155,000 students in Oregon currently lack access to the connectivity and devices required for successful online learning. While this homework gap is not new, the pandemic has heightened the challenges — most acutely in rural and under-resourced neighborhoods, where the effects disproportionately impact 1 in 3 students of color, as well as students with disabilities, and roughly 10 percent of all public school teachers.
Whether students are learning remotely or in the classroom, having access to affordable high-speed internet and devices is a non-negotiable for successful learning outcomes.
AT&T collaborated with national nonprofit Connected Nation to administer the program and review the applications and needs of schools and nonprofits serving at-risk kids.
“What makes this program so critical is that it seeks to help students who have been disproportionately disconnected from formal learning opportunities due to COVID-19,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, Connected Nation. “The investment being made through the AT&T K-12 homework gap program will not only allow these kids to fully participate in remote learning now, but also to catch up on learning lost during the pandemic. We must all work together to minimize and mitigate the impact that the pandemic has had on our must vulnerable youth.”
“Many families we serve face a systemic barrier to internet access; this barrier has been exacerbated in the pandemic, and it will continue to affect families after safety restrictions are lifted,” said Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Director of Development & Communications at Centro. Support from AT&T and others will help Centro relieve these barriers for hundreds of families in Washington County, and it will be a key component of rebuilding a more equitable economy.”
“By helping to expand connectivity for the students they serve, we can play a role in narrowing the homework gap and helping address inequities associated with virtual learning.”George Granger — President, AT&T Oregon
“Organizations like Centro Cultural de Washington and Long Creek School District are critical to serving and supporting some of the most at-risk students across Oregon,” said George Granger, President of AT&T Oregon. “By helping to expand connectivity for the students they serve, we can play a role in narrowing the homework gap and helping address inequities associated with virtual learning.”
In addition to contributions to organizations like Centro Cultural de Washington County and Long Creek School District, AT&T is expanding wireless affordability and flexibility for all schools in its service with unlimited wireless data plans that include content filtering services to support online safety protocols.
1 Selected recipients are required to agree to certain terms before receiving Internet subscriptions and wireless hotspots.