SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – As if coping with the pandemic weren’t enough of an obstacle for students as back-to-school and virtual learning loom in the days ahead, many are at risk of falling behind because they lack internet access at home.

Because many kids on the eastside of San Jose don’t have broadband at home, they often do their homework in the parking lots of fast-food restaurants.

That “digital divide” is about to get a little less daunting thanks to a new public private partnership.  

The key to distance learning this fall for thousands of school children across San Jose – Hotspots.  

The portable gadgets that will help students learn online.  

San Jose has partnered with AT&T to provide 11,000 hotspots, 8,000 of which were donated to the Santa Clara County Office of Education, which is working to identify those students and districts most in need.  

One study found as many as 100,000 San Jose residents, mostly from low income families, do not have broadband access at home.   

The hotspots come with free high-speed internet access and an unlimited data plan.  

The city council this summer approved the $8.2-million COVID-19 Digital Inclusion Plan. 

It includes completing the “Access Eastside” Community Wi-fi Project to build wireless access in the Eastside Union High School attendance areas of James Lick, Oak Grove, Andrew Hill and Silver Creek high schools.

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