SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — The state of California is taking steps to help children, particularly from low-income families, continue their learning from home during the coronavirus outbreak.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the “digital divide” has been decades in the making before the pandemic.
According to Gov. Newsom, one in five students do not have access to high speed internet and a computer at home.
Newsom, First Partnet Jen Siebel Newsom, and state education officials have been working with California-based high-tech companies such as Google and Apple to provide laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots for the state’s schoolchildren.
“Because of these commitments, hundreds of thousands of families will cross the digital divide, including 70,000 California students who received laptops, Chromebooks and tablets starting this week,” Siebel Newsom said. “That means hundreds of thousands of California students can continue to learn online and become the leaders they are meant to be and that California needs them to be.”
According to Siebel Newsom, tens of thousands of the devices will be delivered to communities in need by the end of this week.
“This is the beginning of a process. We have a lot more work to do, and not just to close the digital divide in the context of this pandemic, but more broadly, decades in the makin,” Gov. Newsom said.
School officials in Santa Clara County say they need at least 15,000 more devices in order to supply each of their students with what they need to do online distance learning during the shelter in place.
“We are encountering some barriers so we don’t have enough devices for students to have 1 to 1 technology and we also don’t have enough access to the internet,” Dr. Maryann Duwan said.
San Jose Unified School District officials say they’re distributing 1200 devices this week, in addition to 500 they’ve already distributed.
West Contra Costa County Unified School District officials say they have enough chromebooks, but they’re in need of hotspots.
Governor Gavin Newsom says about one in five students in the State of California do not have access to high speed internet or an appropriate computing device at home.
Earlier this month, Newsom issued a call to action to businesses, government and community leaders to help bridge the digital divide.
Many responded, including California Public Utilities Commission, T-Mobile, Amazon and Apple, all donating money, laptops, hotspots and coaching for teachers.
The lack of technology in students’ homes has been a statewide problem.
Beginning this week, the state will deliver 70,000 digital devices to school districts across the state to support students with their distance learning.
“This was a two week sprint to create the opportunity to provide tens of thousands of additional units, laptops, chrome books, computers, iPods and the like we continue to need to do much much more,” Newsom said.
Here is a list of all the donations Newsom announced on Monday after he issued a call to action to businesses, government and community leaders to help bridge the digital divide:
- T-Mobile is donating 13,000 tablet devices, in addition to the previously-announced 100,000 hotspot devices (for which they partnered with Google)
- Amazon is donating 10,000 tablet devices
- Apple is actively working with 800 districts across the state, offering free coaching sessions to teachers to help them with the transition to remove learning
- Apple is also offering special pricing for iPads with cellular, and has given the equivalent of 9,000 iPads to ensure the most vulnerable in our state have access
- Verizon is partnering with the State of California to provide 250,000 students with unlimited internet service at a discount
- The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative is donating $1M
- Jack Dorsey is donating $1M
- Ann and John Doerr are donating $1M
- HP Inc. is donating 5,000 Chromebooks and launching HP Refresh with dedicated resources to the state.
- Lenovo is donating 4,000 Chromebooks.
- An anonymous foundation is donating $1,000,000.
- Box is donating free 12-month licenses to its secure file-sharing services (up to $1,000,000) for school districts to enable administrators and teachers to collaborate. Box CEO Aaron Levie is also personally donating $100,000.
- Scott Cook and Signe Ostby through The Valhalla Charitable Foundation are donating $500,000.
- An anonymous foundation is donating $500,000 for LA County public schools.
- Zoom is donating $500,000.
- AT&T is donating $300,000 for devices and $250,000 for distance learning programs.
- Microsoft is donating 1,000 Surface tablets.
- The Stuart Foundation is donating $250,000.
- Todd McKinnon and Roxanne Stachon are donating $250,000.
- Heising-Simons Foundation is donating $200,000.
- Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang are donating $100,000.
- Silver Giving Foundation is donating $100,000.
- The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is donating $100,000.
- Craig Newmark Philanthropies is donating $100,000.
- VIPKid is donating $50,000.
- PayPal Gives is donating $50,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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