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W.Va. Gov. Justice announces program to ensure internet access for students

The governor announced a new program to guarantee internet access for students across the Mountain State
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 10:54 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - At a time when parents are trying to decide whether to send their kids to school, having good internet access is a big factor to take into consideration.

“Depending on the type of service you have in Mason County and in our area of New Haven, a lot of times it can be spotty,” said Sherill Hoffman, who has a daughter in Mason County schools.

Gov. Jim Justice announced on Wednesday that the state and the West Virginia Department of Education are teaming up for a new program called the “Kids Connect initiative” which will provide internet access for students across the state.

“There is 40 percent of our state that kids can’t get on to broadband,” Justice said.

The new program will provide 1,000 wireless locations in all 55 counties where kids can go to get internet.

“Our counties are very clever, we already see it in their plans getting creative with those WiFi hotspots,” State Superintendent Clayton Burch told WSAZ. “The ability where this is not a daily need to be there, it’s sometimes once a week where you need to be there to download your assignments (and) upload the other ones.”

The WiFi sites will be put at all K through 12 schools, 32 higher education schools, 255 libraries and 31 state parks.

If kids don’t have a way of getting to the hotspots, buses will be provided.

Justice said the program is going to cost $6 million, and he plans to have all the wireless locations put in place and ready to go by Sept. 8.

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