Connecticut Launches $43M Program To Close Digital Divide

Hands Typing on a Laptop
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By 1080 WTIC NEWSTALK

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTIC Radio) - The Lamont Administration is launching a new $43.5 million program to provide new laptops, internet access and public hotspots for Connecticut students.

On Tuesday, Governor Ned Lamont announced the Everybody Learns Initiative as an investment in remote learning solutions to help students learn from home and to help close the digital divide in the state.

The funding will be used to acquire 50,000 laptops and 12 months of at-home internet access for 60,000 students, Lamont said. It will also fund the creation of free public hotspots at 200 community sites across the state, he said.

Additionally, the program will help in offering social emotional learning content to school districts statewide, according to officials.

The program's funds come from the state's portion of the federal CARES Act as well as the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

With the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lamont said it is paramount that all students in Connecticut have access to the tools and resources needed for remote learning.

"Too often, students of color and those in low-income communities are disproportionately disadvantaged by not having access to the learning technologies they need," Lamont said. "Today, I am taking measures to close this inequitable digital divide and ensure all of our students are set up for success with remote learning."