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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Making sure students have access to internet for remote learning

Local 24 News Anchor Richard Ransom looks at the issue in his Ransom Note.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For those of us with WIFI, laptops, and smart phones, it's easy to forget how technology is passing people by and leaving them at a big disadvantage.

So Shelby County Schools had a huge task ahead for this fall. It did find funding for a laptop or iPad for every student.

Now, what about making sure they have broadband access when they take the devices home?

A new study out Friday by Lending Tree found Memphis is the fourth worst city in the country for remote learning. Only 56% of its people have computer access, and even fewer have high speed internet (52%).

Other cities at the bottom were (1) Birmingham, (2) Miami, (3) New Orleans, and (5) Cleveland.

Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray told me Friday he has plans for the internet issue by using hot spots to get kids the access they need. He's also aware a lot of parents will need help learning about these new devices their kids are bringing home.

It's a herculean task, but if he pulls it off, it could be a game changer.

American schoolchildren transitioned to remote learning in spring 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it looks like some school districts will be resuming online instruction for the fall semester, at least in part. For families in certain cities though, learning remotely comes with challenges to overcome, like lack of access to high-speed internet and the technology necessary to complete schoolwork outside of the classroom.

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