Baltimore City Public Schools bought Wi-Fi hotspots for students that will allow up to 10 users to use 4G LTE service in their home for summer.
The public school district bought these hotspots through T-Mobile’s EmpowerED 2.0 program. Families will be able to pick up the Wi-Fi hot spots at school district headquarters, located at 200 E. North Ave., between the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday.
Thanks to @TMobile, City Schools will distribute a limited number of free wireless internet hotspots to traditional school students. Distribution began last week for students participating in summer programs.
— Baltimore City Public Schools (@BaltCitySchools) July 13, 2020
Only students that lack home internet are eligible to receive a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Students can also receive a laptop or home computer, if they do not have one, at the district office between the times of 10 a.m. and 6 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If a student isn’t over 18 a parent or guardian with an ID will be needed to pick up the device.
Internet access at home has been among the digital equity issues that city schools officials are addressing during a time of remote learning in the pandemic. A report released in May from the Abell Foundation found that, of the households with children age 17 and under in Baltimore, 8,900 lack any broadband, while 19,200 lack a wireline broadband connection. Other connectivity efforts are also arising, such as Enoch Pratt Free Library‘s Drive-In Wi-Fi outside eight neighborhood branches, and a free community Wi-Fi network in Cherry Hill that was set up by Elev8 Baltimore and Rowdy Orb.it.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.