December 3, 2020 – Morristown, NJ.
The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund announced today that it will provide nine School districts across the state more than $2.6 million to help bridge the Digital Divide exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced many New Jersey school districts to switch to remote learning.
The decision by many districts across the state to move to remote or hybrid learning has exposed a “digital divide” between students in wealthier districts who have devices and broadband internet access and those in poorer districts who do not. Without access, students in districts that have gone remote are at a major disadvantage.
School districts in Newark, Paterson, Passaic, Bridgeton, Millville, Red Bank, Old Bridge Freehold and Trenton are receiving funding to purchase laptop computers, Wi-Fi hotspots and internet access needed for remote learning.
“In today’s world, having access to a computer and internet access is not a luxury, but a necessity,” said New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, the founding chair of NJPRF. “We are hopeful that our commitment – alongside that of others – will address this pressing need so students can continue learning through the pandemic.”
The state has provided $45 million to public school districts to buy digital devices and internet connectivity, but nearly 40,000 students across the state are still without a device or internet connectivity or both, according to the state Department of Education.