Multi-million dollar grant introduced for internet access for school students

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Governor Larry Hogan announced a multi-million dollar grant to increase internet access for education much earlier than anticipated.

As the start of the school year looms, many students still don’t have stable access or any access to internet in their homes. This grant will work to change that.

Governor Hogan plans to award the Office of Rural Broadband nearly eight million dollars to increase internet access for Maryland Public School students. The other portion of the grant will support construction of a new statewide educational network in order to close the gap in accessibility to internet as schools near the start of distance learning.

The grant will be split amongst the twenty one local jurisdictions that applied for the grant money.

In urban areas where students have access to broadband infrastructure, the grants will be used to help currently unserved students obtain internet service from an existing provider. In rural areas where broadband infrastructure does not exist, the grants will be used to provide wireless access to students with cellular hotspots or similar resources.

Jeff Proulx, Chief Operating Officer of Washington County Public Schools stated, “We are going to be providing synchronous learning throughout the day everyday. And so if students at their homes cannot access that synchronous learning, they’re going to fall behind their peers. We still have hot spots at our schools. But for students that would have to leave their home during the school day to sit in a parking lot or go to a school site to sit outside of a building to get internet access is just unacceptable.”

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