There is a lot of uncertainty about the back to school season this year. What is certain is that most schools are starting the year online, but over nine million students are unable to access the internet. For some, it's a lack of coverage. For others, it's a lack of affordability. We are raising funds to support and provide students’ needs to receive an education. Proceeds from this campaign will go towards laptops, tablets, education networks, cell on wheel trailers, and other technologies used to give access to the internet for students in need.
There are roughly 42 million people across America without access to reliable internet. Today we rely on our ability to connect at any given instant. We use it to apply for college, conduct research for term papers, search for job openings, access important health information, and learn about news. The Connectivity Foundation was formed out of the exponential push to go digital during the pandemic. Much of the nation isn’t equipped, so we formed a non-profit with a team of passionate people ranging from college students to engineers and tech entrepreneurs.
Our long term plan involves partnering with communities and school districts to build out both broadband coverage and affordable networks. To address the lack of connectivity, we can’t ignore the years of systematic inaccessibility that make up the digital divide and education gap. Both of them are effects of systemic injustices with a complex history. One solution is to provide connectivity.
When September rolls around, students who previously got by without connectivity will only be pushed further behind. This requires an immediate solution. Our foundation is working diligently to identify twelve unconnected markets, but proceeds will go beyond that. Donate with a nomination to a city or community you want to see assisted. We are going to do as much as we can, anywhere we can.
Our Solution: We plan to take a comprehensive and adaptive approach to best support individual students rather than a blanket solution that leaves many still offline. This is in part, what led to the 42 million unconnected Americans. To ensure we are successful and helpful, we will work through local city governments and school districts as well as partnering with other nonprofits.
Providing Laptops and Tablets: There are many students who, even if connected, don’t have access to the devices required for learning. Many higher economic schools have devices available to distribute among students, but others don’t. With allocated resources, these students will also get the tools they need.
Education Networks: Building out what we call an education network that provides broadband services for affordable prices. If we treat a large school as the central location or hub we will build the network within that radius. We created a model for a school district in Indiana providing 150,000 kids with high-speed internet for a monthly cost of $4.88 per student. This model is just the start of what we hope to do with other school districts around the country.
Cellular on Wheels: COW Devices provide internet access sourced from a portable network carrier. They are easily transportable and often used during natural disasters so that everyone can receive advisory warnings. These are particularly useful in areas like Florida during hurricane season. For immediate aid to get students online, these could be applied to school areas and offer a space to connect and complete schoolwork.
For more resources about what we are doing and who we are, follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook or go to our website. We will continuously post updates about our mission to connect students this fall. We are dedicated to explore any and every option and adapt to what every student will need. Help us make sure no student gets left behind. Donate to this year’s back to school fund for students to meet their teachers online.