State to pay for 1 year of home internet usage for 60K students; 50K laptops going to students in need


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The state is launching a $43 million plan to improve access to remote learning.

Governor Ned Lamont said 50,000 laptops will be given out to students most in need. The state said it will pay for a full year of home internet access for 60,000 students.

“To me, this is the Brown vs. Board of Education of our generation,” said Lamont. “The separate but equal back in the ‘50s is the digital divide of the 21st century.”

RELATED: 76% of students expect to return to the classroom this fall, state survey finds

The state will also fund 200 public internet hotspots in poor urban and rural cities and towns. Lamont made the announcement while visiting Waterbury Arts Magnet School on Tuesday afternoon.

Part of the funding comes from the federal CARES Act, the rest from state relief funds.

Waterbury Schools Superintendent Dr. Verna Ruffin said about 4,000 of her students still need laptops. She said preliminary survey results show a good number of parents don’t feel comfortable sending their kids back to school, so remote learning looks like a real possibility. That would lead to a hybrid model in the fall.

RELATED: 46% of teachers would prefer distance learning this fall, CEA survey finds

“We’ll have indications on how many people we are planning for on the virtual academy and in person learning,” said Dr. Ruffin.

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