THE MOUNTING SCHOOL closures amid the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. are exposing major equity gaps in access to technology and the internet, and the FCC needs to step in, according to FCC commissioners.
“Now is absolutely the time to talk about the coronavirus disruption and how technology can help,” Jessica Rosenworcel, an FCC commissioner, said Tuesday during a Senate hearing. “Nationwide we are going to explore the expansion of tele-work, tele-health and tele-education, and in the process we are going to expose some really hard truths about the scope of the digital divide.”
Those hard truths are playing out in real-time in Washington state, where 34 schools and three school districts have closed, some for as long as a month. And while a handful of them are taking their classes online, many others aren’t due to the students varying levels of access to technology.