The Barrow County School System plans to request federal funding for internet access, devices, or both, for qualifying students and is currently conducting a community survey aimed at identifying families in needs.
The federal American Rescue Plan passed by Congress and signed by President Biden in March established an Emergency Connectivity Fund, with money to be distributed through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The school system will be able to purchase internet service and/or Chromebooks for off-campus use by students at no cost to the students or their families, district spokesperson Shenley Rountree said.
The FCC has not yet released specific details of the program, and there is no guarantee that funding will be approved, Rountree said. The district is required to survey families in order to identify students who may need assistance.
The district has published a five-question survey to its website that must be completed by June 23 in order to be eligible to receive the assistance.
All devices will remain the property of BCSS, and each item will be checked out to individual students for use at home. The amount of students who receive the devices or hotspot connectivity will depend on the amount of funding the district receives.
The program is separate from the district’s digital or remote-learning programs.
Information on the survey can be found at www.barrow.k12.ga.us.