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"NYC should subsidize internet for low-income remote learners, Stringer says"

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Original article written by Reema Amin for Chalkbeat

As New York City schools are moved back online indefinitely, the problem of internet access for low-income students continues. NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer says the city should offer subsidies for these families, emphasizing that 100,000 school age children live in 40,000 households without internet. “The failure to address this problem has resulted in students going to extreme ends – huddling on street corners around LinkNYC stations to get free Wi-Fi, struggling to find other weak connections in their general vicinity, or using DOE iPads for ‘hotspots’ which at best provided families with a weak signal of little use for robust 21st century learning,” Stringer wrote, saying that the measures taken by the city thus far have not been enough. To address the connectivity problem, the city has purchased 450,000 iPads that connect to the internet through a cellular plan with T-Mobile. However, many families are dealing with technological and connectivity issues, particularly getting consistent T-moblie service in their homes. This is an issue especially at some shelters housing homeless students, who as a result are unable to regularly log on for remote learning, if at all. Furthermore, last month officials said about 77,000 students remained without a proper device. City officials are advocating with service providers for “free or reduced service during this pandemic,” said Sarah Casasnovas, a spokesperson for the education department. Although city officials are "working diligently," there seems to be no end in sight for families and students struggling with access to remote learning.

Families or students experiencing difficulty can fill out the Family Support Form for help.

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