Alva Review-Courier -

Shift to distance learning highlights stark inequities in internet connection


Photo provided by district

Tulsa Public Schools is using its bright blue activity buses as mobile hot spots to help students with distance learning. The buses provide wireless internet access up to 300 feet away and are parked at various locations around the city.

When the coronavirus pandemic closed school buildings, teachers were tasked with connecting to students from afar. Suddenly, students' lack of home internet access was in the spotlight.

A mid-March survey by the Oklahoma Education Department showed that nearly one-quarter of the state's public school students, about 167,000, don't have internet access at home.

That means in places like Hugo, a community of 5,100 in southeastern Oklahoma, teachers had to try to reach students through phone calls, emails and letters. The district has distributed hundreds of schoolwork paper packets to studen...

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