For more than 200,000 homes with students across NC, Broadband access is limited or non-existent. Even when Broadband is available, other barriers to adoption and usage prevent many of our households from being connected. During this pandemic, many students rely on walking to publicly available wifi or buses with Internet access. Districts have been creative with hotspots, park and learns, and other solutions; but they are not long-term or ideal. Overall, this equity issue has been exacerbated during COVID-19 and is leaving some students unable to communicate with their teachers and classmates and struggling to complete school assignments and access digital learning resources as other students with access in their homes. We are also seeing additional divides related to devices and digital literacy. Today, we will discuss the short-term and long-term efforts being made with leaders from different sectors across our state and how we can accelerate the availability of robust, affordable Broadband for all and how to effectively support students in engaging in learning opportunities once Internet connection is possible.
- Caroline Sullivan, Executive Director, North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE)
- Patrick Woodie, President, NC Rural Center
- Karl Rectanus, CEO and Co-Founder of Learn Platform
- Rhonda Schuhler, Superintendent, Franklin County Schools