T-Mobile has announced it will provide 600,000 Florida students with free internet access to address new remote learning needs created by COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership is called Project 10Million, a national campaign that will make it possible for selected families to receive the internet for free.
According to T-Mobile, even before the pandemic, more than 9 million of America’s 56 million school-age kids did not have access to reliable internet and could not complete after-school assignments. This critical homework gap has tremendous short- and long-term impacts: lower test scores, lower grades and limited opportunities after graduation. Now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented 50 million students are learning remotely. Those without reliable internet connectivity will face an even bigger schoolwork gap as they are unable to participate in any type of online classroom learning.
“This underscores the importance of harnessing the private sector to ensure our children can learn, grow and achieve their God-given potential. If a student does not have access to technology or internet connectivity necessary for homework, it’s a disservice to their educational journey. With this partnership, we are closing the achievement gap between all children, and I thank T-Mobile for their commitment to Florida students,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis.
K-12 students in Florida who participate in the national school lunch program for low-income families will be able to participate, according to the Florida Department of Education.
School administrators can apply for the program by providing ZIP codes for students that participate in the school lunch program. The schools then distribute the hotspots and devices with T-Mobile providing assistance for setup and technical support.
“This is yet another opportunity to level the playing field and provide additional educational supports for Florida students,” said Commissioner of Education, Richard Corcoran. “A rising tide lifts all boats, and more students will have the opportunity to enrich the critical skills they learn in the classroom, at home.”