Free or Discounted Internet for Schoolchildren
During this time of COVID-19, it can be difficult to navigate the many changes coming your way. By offering our CIPA filtering free of charge, we are doing our part to ensure that every child has the safe access they need to perform their distance learning. While CyberReef provides the filtering, we do not provide Internet. However, most major service providers carry programs that help bridge the income inequality gap. Here are a few, listed below.
Some families can acquire discounted access rates as low as $5/month from one service provider. Another is waiving a couple billing cycles for certain services, and providing cheaper Internet plans for low-income households, among other offerings for people and entities negatively impacted by the pandemic. Yet another major provider is accommodating impacted customers by giving unlimited data and extra Mobile Hot Spot data free of charge, and another has joined its competitors in promising to keep service running for those unable to pay bills.
In fact, hundreds of companies have agreed to honor the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge and forego service suspensions for those financially crippled by the COVID-19 outbreak. Parents who have been disadvantaged by virus and require Internet access for their children’s at-home education can check with their individual providers to see if they’ve signed the pledge and what other assistance they may be offering. Many of these major telecom and Internet companies recognize the need of sacrifice to keep consumers covered in times of crisis, especially considering the increasingly vital necessity of Internet connection and WiFi as the practice of social distancing and virtual classrooms rapidly spread nation and worldwide.
Our service providers and partners understand how crucial it is to address the digital divide that keeps so many children of lower-income families from accessing the same quality of education as their peers. Among the drastic moves to digital social spaces made in response to COVID-19, this problem has grown to one of even greater concern.
Formal education, as essential as it is for our youth, has already suffered massive disruptions all over the country, affecting millions of students. Unprecedented number of school districts now grapple with the strain of sudden closures, the adoption of online classes and curriculum, and the issue of making sure all their students have online access. Analyzing the new and problematic circumstances imposed by the Coronavirus lockdowns, one researcher noted that “Equity and access is probably the single biggest challenge that a school has to think about in this situation.”
If the option for Internet-enabled, remote learning is available, every child should have the opportunity to connect online and to do so safely. Those in need of a little assistance should take advantage of any discounts on Internet services or waived fees that will help them stay connected while weathering the financial turbulence of this public health emergency.
School districts can utilize our free CIPA filtering to help their students enjoy the benefits of a safe and stable learning environment even while working off-campus. Together, we can get through this crisis and mitigate COVID-19’s economically and educationally crippling effects.