A new program allows students from low-income families to connect to their learning online from home at no cost to them. OSPI will cover the costs of internet connectivity for eligible students for the remainder of the 2020–21 school year.
We have heard from Comcast and Ziply Fiber, which provide internet access in Anacortes, that they are participating in the state program to provide free internet access to Anacortes students in low-income families who didn’t previously have an internet connection.
Comcast said the new state program dovetails with their own Internet Essentials program. They will serve up to 38,000 qualifying low-income families with free internet service through the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic school year. This program directly impacts 400 low-income students and families in the Anacortes School District, making them instantly eligible for the complimentary service
"Our services have never been more important, and we’re doing everything we can to keep students connected to the internet during this unprecedented time," said Rodrigo Lopez, Region Senior Vice President, Comcast Washington. "We’re working to ensure that households are equipped for students to learn and stay informed at home and are proud to partner with Superintendent Reykdal to help keep kids connected through our Internet Essentials program."
Ziply Fiber is also participating in the state program.
“My wife is a teacher, so I understand the enormity of the challenge that both teachers and students have when it comes to remote learning. The unfortunate reality is thousands of students across the state of Washington lack the economic resources to afford reliable internet, blocking access to online education,” said Harold Zeitz, CEO of Ziply Fiber.
“Ziply Fiber believes that everyone should have access to quality, reliable internet, which is why we’re proud, as a Northwest company, to play an important role in Washington’s K-12 Internet Access Program. We look forward to supporting our communities in this way until we can all safely return to traditional school environments.”
Funding for the Washington’s K–12 Internet Access Program comes from the federal CARES Act. To help with COVID-related costs, Congress provided $195 million to Washington’s school districts and $21 million to OSPI for statewide coordination and support. The $195 million has already been provided to districts to address COVID-related needs.
For more information, visit the OSPI Web site.