Vouchers for internet access for students to be delivered next week

Getting internet access across the state

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - With more students starting class virtually this fall, it’s more important than ever they have access to the internet. Starting next week, vouchers for free internet access for families with students on free or reduced lunch, will be mailed out. It’s all a part of the Alabama Broadband Connectivity for Students program.

Jefferson County Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsoulin says it will make a big difference in the county.

The district recently surveyed families who have internet, versus those who do not. At least a quarter of folks said they have issues connecting to it or don’t have it at all according to Gonsoulin.

“We want to make sure that they get it and this will allow our families to have access to it,” Dr. Gonsoulin said.

If you’re eligible for the program, you’ll receive a letter in the mail being sent out by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. The voucher covers the cost of internet, installation and equipment.

When it comes to virtual learning, Gonsoulin says it’s going to be a learning curve. He’s asking for patience and buy in from everyone.

“We will work hard to provide a quality educational experience but we’re going to have to work together in order to make that happen..the parents, the students and the educational system. We’re stronger together. We’re going to work to make it happen,” Gonsoulin added.

The voucher program will cover the cost of high-speed internet through December. The state is using $100 million in CARES Act funding to pay for it.

You can learn more about the ABC program at https://abcstudents.org/

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