Delaware City Schools students will soon have access to hundreds of new devices after the district received grant funding from the Federal Communications Commission.
Jennifer Fry, chief technology officer for the district, said Tuesday that the grants were part of the the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund, which Fry said is a $7.17 billion program intended to help schools and libraries provide the tools and services communities need for remote learning during the pandemic. Fry said the ECF program covers the costs of laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems or routers for schools.
“(We) applied for the Emergency Connectivity Fund so that we could provide connectivity for our students to help bridge the homework gap for students who don’t have Internet access or the devices that they need to connect to our classrooms,” Fry said.
She added the district has applied for and received funding from the grant program two times.
“In funding round one of the grant, we applied for hotspot connectivity for our students for the 2021-2022 school year,” Fry said. “We were awarded funding to cover the cost of 50 hotspots, which gives 50 Delaware City Schools families high-speed internet connectivity. This meets an ongoing need to support all of our students with access to their learning materials when they are not at school.”
Fry said in the second round of funding from the grant, the district applied for 1,000 devices.
“This is a need to ensure that each and every student has access to a device in order to connect to our classrooms,” Fry said. “We have been awarded the funding to purchase 1,000 Chromebooks through the ECF grant.”
Fry was thrilled when she learned the application was successful.
“When I heard the news that we had been awarded both the funding for our hotspot connectivity and for the funding of our devices, I was ecstatic,” Fry said. “This program has provided great support for our DCS students to make sure they are connected to their learning at any time in any space. Making sure that they have access to their learning at all times is absolutely critical.”
Fry said the district has been using the hotspots for this entire school year, and the 1,000 new Chromebooks are scheduled to arrive within the district this week.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.