Preparing for the unexpected is easier said than done – especially when it comes to education. Long-term school closures caused by a global pandemic were certainly not at the top of educators’ priority lists at this time last year. While administrators have gone above and beyond to address students’, parents’ and teachers’ needs when schools shifted to remote learning, it has become clear that districts were not prepared to deliver solutions that would ensure every student could embrace remote and online learning.
Despite many efforts to close the digital divide, not all students have equal access to the proper devices and connectivity needed to continue their education. It was not truly appreciated how extensive this problem was until students were immediately required to connect to the classroom online from their homes with little-to-no notice.
According to the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Future Ready Schools initiative, 16.9 million U.S. students lack home internet access and simply could not continue with their learning. The need to address this inequality has a new urgency.