As students and teachers begin the new school year, 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 six Louisiana schools will receive more than 1,200 free hotspots 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
“The Pandemic has highlighted the importance of connectivity in the home, and this kind of support and engagement from AT&T and Connected Nation is beneficial to keeping students connected to the classroom,” said Louisiana State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Cade Brumley.
An estimated 17 million K-12 students nationwide and more than 281,000 students in Louisiana 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.
“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.”
The schools and organizations receiving the hotspots are:
"By helping to expand connectivity for these students, we can play a role in narrowing the homework gap bringing opportunities for virtual learning into many more homes.”Sonia Perez — President, AT&T Southeast States
“Schools like these are critical to serving and supporting students across Louisiana,” said Sonia Perez, president, AT&T Southeast States. “By helping to expand connectivity for these students, we can play a role in narrowing the homework gap bringing opportunities for virtual learning into many more homes.”
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.
In addition to contributions these organizations, 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.