Sibley East Public Schools opts for in-person schools; poor broadband is one reason

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…

A rural school district southwest of the Twin Cities has become the first to test the limits of the state’s guidelines for school reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board of Sibley East Public Schools voted last month to shift from hybrid to in-person instruction for all students — rejecting the recommendations of the district’s superintendent, state education officials and the state’s virus-count metrics for reopening as the number of local cases rose. Board members said they were following the wishes of a majority of parents, who are struggling to balance work with their children’s complicated schedules, and trying to help students who can’t log on in areas with spotty broadband connections.

And…

Plus, pressure from the community was intensifying. Parents, many of whom commute more than an hour to jobs in the Twin Cities or work in factory jobs or in other positions where working from home isn’t an option, were struggling to balance their schedules with a hybrid school plan. Some areas of the district, which covers the cities of Arlington, Gaylord and Green Isle, lack the broadband connections needed for distance learning.

Sibley County ranks 49 (out 87) for broadband access with only 63 percent of the county have access to 100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up; and only 74 percent having access to 25/3 access. I have talked to groups in several counties about their broadband coverage and most report that with multiple people working and/or taking classes online that 25/3 is not fast enough.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, education, MN and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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