internet access

Steve Burns / WTIU

Starting Monday, Hoosiers can apply to be considered for the latest state program designed to expand broadband access to residents and businesses.

(FILE PHOTO: Annie Ropeik/IPB News)

The Indiana Farm Bureau held its annual delegate session virtually for the second year in a row in light of the pandemic and recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Members from all over the state brought suggestions for policy positions they believe the organization should support. Some technology challenges during the event highlighted one ongoing policy issue: the need for rural broadband improvements.

Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE


Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch was in South Bend Thursday to promote a new fiber optic network installed along the Indiana Toll Road. 

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Last fall, the City of South Bend, enFocus and the South Bend Community School Corporation partnered to provide internet access to students during the pandemic. Now, leaders say more than 1,700 of the district’s students are connected.

City officials say about 30 percent of South Bend residents don’t have adequate broadband access, which comes out to about 3,500 students who may struggle to participate in e-learning.

 

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Back in September, the Citywide Classroom partnership between the City of South Bend, enFocus, and the South Bend Community School Corporation received 1.8 million dollars of state funding to expand student internet access during the pandemic. 

Next week, the partnership will begin distributing over 2,000 at-home internet packages and about 2,000 WiFi hotspots to students with limited broadband access, which City of South Bend spokesperson Caleb Bauer said is about 15-30 percent of students in the district. 

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Many closed schools are adapting lessons to continue online or with other take-home materials, but one expert says expecting all students to keep learning at the same pace from home can widen existing equity gaps in education.

With planned spring breaks and new COVID-19 related closures, Hoosier students will be out of class for six weeks or more. Many districts are using paper packets and e-learning days to help fill the time and continue student learning.