In the Coping with Closure series, the PAPER Team explores the implications of changing realities in education: School closures, virtual instruction plans, and the need to support children & families who rely on schools for more than just learning.

When school closures and distance learning were first announced an immediate concern about delivering resources to families came about. There are many families across the nation who do not have access to wifi or devices at home, bringing up the question of how districts would be able to deliver learning materials to these students. With the closures taking place in the middle of the school year, devices and access to wifi became a necessity more than a luxury.

Almost 3 million students in the US do not have internet access at home, and with fear of an ever-growing achievement gap, districts have started to discuss the different ways they can tackle this issue. Although, schools weren’t alone in their attempt to provide for their students. As they began to plan to resolve the issue, many service providers came forward and offered free or reduced prices for wifi.

When our team looked into how districts were addressing this issue, we discovered the following:

1) Miami-Dade County Public Schools distributed 90,000 laptops and have also set up various wifi hotspots throughout their country.

2) The Mosinee School District in Wisconsin has deployed wifi buses to give students access. Students can drive to where these buses are parked and access wifi from their cars.

3) Los Angeles Unified School District announced the authorization of a $100 million dollar investment that will provide laptops to all students who do not have access to one along with a partnership with Verizon to offer internet access.

These are unprecedented times and districts are acting quickly to provide basic necessities and accommodate to these changes. With districts attempting to close the digital divide by trying to provide all of their students with devices and internet access, there has been a huge push towards technology that we are sure will impact how teaching and learning will look like once schools reopen. There are even stipulations that blended learning will become a much larger part of the classroom than it had been before.

Our team at Paper wants to stay up to date with the developments in the education world. Their tireless efforts by districts and educators are not going unnoticed by our team, and we want to continue highlighting these inspiring stories.

You can subscribe to the PAPER blog for more information on the resources and events our team is putting together for the education community.

If you’re an educator, what are some ways your school or district is meeting students’ needs during this time? Reach out to us on Twitter – we'd love to hear about your experiences and opinions!

About PAPER

Founded in 2014, Paper is an Educational Support System (ESS) providing students with 24/7 live help & essay review, and teachers with real-time feedback and intervention tools. Paper partners with districts across North America to close the achievement gap and support educational equity.