If the pandemic results in a return to remote learning for all students, New Richmond Exempted Village School District now has a way to bridge the learning gap for students who do not have broadband internet service or access.
The district is the recipient of a BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant from Ohio. In early August, Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced that $50 million would be allocated through the grant program to provide hotspots and internet-enabled devices for students. This was welcome news to Superintendent Tracey Miller.
“One of the greatest challenges we faced last March when, following state orders, we transitioned to remote learning was how to serve our nearly 180 students who lacked internet service and/or accessibility,” Mr. Miller said. “This was a serious barrier.”
At the first opportunity, Technology Director Matthew Prichard applied for a share of the grant dollars.
“New Richmond EVSD was awarded $45,000 with this grant opportunity. With the money, we will be able to help provide internet access to 150 students in our district. We will need to find the money to meet the needs of the remaining students who need this access as well.” Mr. Prichard said.
Distribution of access/service will be prioritized going first to students who are economically disadvantaged, followed by students with special needs, and then students without internet access.
The access/service will also be Children’s Internet Protection Act compliant capable of filtering out adult content, Prichard said.
Mr. Prichard did an excellent job of quickly applying for the grant money, Mr. Miller said.
“All students need access to the internet and internet service if learning and teaching are to continue during another remote learning situation. Thanks to Mr. Prichard and the grant dollars, New Richmond is better prepared to support ongoing learning during a school closure.”