Georgia Dedicates $6-million to Help Schools With Internet Access

Governor Brian P. Kemp joined State School Superintendent Richard Woods Thursday to announce Georgia will dedicate $6 million to help school districts connect their K-12 students to the Internet.

Georgia has allocated $6 million of its CARES Act funding to purchase equipment for local school systems to improve connectivity options for students who do not have sufficient Internet access at home.

“While the internet access gap has come into sharper focus during the COVID-19 pandemic, securing connectivity for all of Georgia’s students is a long-term need,” said Governor Kemp. “This is a major step to address the gap for this school year so that all Georgia’s children have access to learning opportunities in and out of school.”

“In this connected age, reliable internet access is part of the infrastructure children and families need for learning,” said Superintendent Woods. “This initiative will ensure schools and districts are prepared if distance/virtual learning is needed in the future, but will also expand the horizons of thousands of students long after the pandemic ends.”

The funds will be used to purchase a variety of connectivity solutions for school districts, including WiFi transmitters on school buses and other connectivity options as needed.

Lack of internet access can affect students’ ability to complete homework, fill out college applications, or read and engage in educational opportunities over the summer, for example.

In both Franklin and Hart County school systems, parents have been given the option to enroll their students in virtual learning for the fall semester.

In Franklin County, of the more than 3,000 students, over 450 parents opted to sign their students up for distance learning.

Meantime, the Georgia Department of Education announced Georgia has received an $18.5 million federal grant to expand virtual and personalized learning in the state.

Georgia was one of 11 states to be awarded a Rethink K-12 Education Models (REM) grant.

Georgia will use its funding to improve the professional learning available to leaders and educators on personalized learning, expand student connectivity, and improve the infrastructure of – and expand access to – the Georgia Virtual School (GaVS).

GaVS is a virtual learning program directly run by the Georgia Department of Education.