Princeton City Schools working to supply internet to every student

The district told FOX19 NOW they are trying to level the playing field for every child.
Princeton City Schools expanding internet access for underprivileged kids
Updated: Apr. 21, 2020 at 8:35 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - When the novel coronavirus forced schools to move to remote learning, Princeton City Schools told FOX19 NOW roughly 30 percent of their K-12 students did not have access to internet.

Now the district is working to supply mobile WiFi hot spots to children who fall into that category.

Amber Jones and her family were part of that 30 percent. Right now, she’s taking advantage of the 60 days of free internet through the charter Spectrum program.

“It’s made a great impact on my family, especially with my daughters learning,” Jones said.

When the district hands out the new WiFi hot spots, her family will be getting one so she can continue to have internet access.

“I can still face-to-face with the teachers if I need to, get in contact with them about problems and things and assignments she doesn’t quite understand,” Jones said.

Princeton City School Superintendent Tom Burton explained access to the internet levels the playing field for students.

A key example he used is an internet search for information.

“Having access at the snap of a finger where you can get that information is critical for kids, and it’s so inequitable when we think about how some students have it and other students don’t,” Burton said.

The district is asking politicians to make universal access to WiFi a priority.

Meanwhile, the situation is leaving Burton with a nagging, unanswered question: “Why did it take COVID-19 to have us press this issue more like we’re doing right now?”

On top of the WiFi hot spots, the district is committed to putting hot spots in common areas of apartment complexes and mobile home parks for kids to access it.

“I’m very proud that Princeton actually stepped up and made the effort to step out to every child,” said Jones.

It cost Princeton City Schools roughly $36,000 to supply hot spots, but it could end up costing them roughly $100,000 to permanently set up WiFi access points in underprivileged parts of the district.

The district sa sythe dollar amount could go down if they’re able to use federals funds to do that.

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