Summer school a good fit for schools in communities with limited broadband?

Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on the recent decision to lift stay at home restrictions that include schools…

The state first shifted to distance learning on March 30 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Walz announced later that the move would remain in effect through the current school year.

The new order allows for classroom instruction if schools comply with state Department of Health guidelines on masking, social distancing, personal hygiene, screening and cleaning. The order states that being able to attend school is especially important to students in communities with limited broadband access as well as those needing engagement and mental and physical health supports.

Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said the state was well aware that many students struggled with distance learning.

“We are excited to be able to offer some in-person learning opportunities,” she said.

I have mixed feelings. I think kids and parents are probably glad for the activity but worried about health risk. It is difficult to hear that rural areas are in a different position than urban counterparts because of their lack of access. (Urban areas likely have issues with affordability and lack of devices.)  It’s difficult that any decisions be made because of limited broadband. In a time with so many unknowns and such dire consequences, it seems like solving the broadband equity issue is an easy one. We have the expertise (great providers), we have a system in place (broadband grants), we have demand, we just need funding!

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