As students and teachers cross head back to the classroom after a 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.
Today, AT&T is announcing that 11 school districts and organizations in Florida will receive more than 3,300 free hotspots, 600 laptops, as well as free internet connectivity. They 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
Millions of students nationwide 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.
The school districts and organizations receiving the hotspots and laptops are:
- AMIKids Pensacola, Pensacola (75)
- Education Foundation of Osceola County, Kissimmee (177)
- Roots and Wings Inc., Delray Beach (240)
- Foundation for Leon County Schools, Tallahassee (450)
- Escambia County School District, Pensacola (500)
- Kids First of Florida, Orange Park (155 Laptops/310 Hotspots)
- Family Support Services of North Florida, Yulee (100 Laptops/100 Hotspots)
- Family Integrity Program, St. Augustine (1 Laptops/1 Hotspot)
- Brevard Family Partnership, Melbourne (154 Laptops/400 Hotspots)
- Community Partnership for Children, Daytona (50 Laptops/50 Hotspots)
- Heartland for Children, Bartow (40 Laptops/40 Hotspots)
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.
“By helping to expand connectivity for the students these organizations serve, we can play a role in narrowing the homework gap and helping address inequities associated with virtual learning.”Joe York — President, AT&T Florida
“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 AT&T Florida President Joe York. “Organizations like AMI Kids and Roots and Wings are critical to serving and supporting some of the most at-risk students across Florida. By helping to expand connectivity for the students these organizations 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 these, 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.