Rep. Spanberger: students lacking high-speed internet access must receive additional support amid COVID-19 closures


U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger is calling for strengthened guidance to students, parents, and educators in rural areas as schools close in response to the coronavirus.

The 7th District representative says some students in central Virginia lack reliable high-speed internet access, which makes it harder for them to access and complete online assignments. In a letter sent to leaders of the House Appropriations Committee, Spanberger and dozens of her colleagues push for the U.S. Department of Education to develop a plan to help solve the issue.

“The coronavirus pandemic has forced schools across central Virginia to take necessary precautions to protect our students, teachers, and staff. And as our hardworking teachers are working to develop new lesson plans, many of our students face connectivity challenges at home that can make it difficult to keep up with these online assignments — at no fault of their own,” Powhatan County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric L. Jones said.

Spanberger is seeking to make the Department of Education coordinate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, CDC, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to produce a public study detailing the impacts of broadband connectivity gaps on the abilities of schools to implement alternative education plans.

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