Supervisors Approve $10 Million for Technology to Aid Students with Access to Online Learning
RIVERSIDE – The Riverside County Board of Supervisors today unanimously voted to approve $10 million for computers, tablets and mobile hotspot devices to provide K-12 students the means to succeed in this new learning environment.
As local school districts begin the school year with full-time distance learning to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Supervisor V. Manuel Perez brought this item forward to provide technology to address the “digital divide” and prevent learning loss during the pandemic.
“Computers and Internet access have increasingly become necessities and even more clearly now, as school instruction moves online,” said Supervisor Perez. “This investment aims to abolish the digital divide and ensure that students don’t have setbacks to their education due to lack of devices and Internet access.”
Riverside County’s $10 million funding allocation, utilizing funding the county received from the federal government, will go directly to the Riverside County Office of Education’s “All For One” campaign. The campaign was launched to raise funds to provide digital devices and hotspots to students and families to ensure that no student is left behind in this rapid shift to online learning.
Riverside County is home to 431,521 students served by 23 school districts. Since March, school campuses have been closed, with school instruction to distance learning. A lack of devices and Internet access known as the “digital divide” has presented significant challenges to universal access to remote learning.
Challenges include families with multiple students sharing one computer to access online learning resources and the geographic diversity of Riverside County, where families live outside areas with traditional Internet access.
The Riverside County Office of Education currently estimates over 50,000 computer devices and 30,000 hotspots are needed to effectively deliver full-time online learning to students countywide. Staff from the Riverside County Office on Education will work with technology leaders at all 23 school districts to address the distance learning needs of students, prioritizing the highest needs for students who need access before the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
“The All For One campaign was launched to directly benefit the neediest students and families in Riverside County by providing consistent and reliable access to technology and the Internet to ensure continuity of education through distance learning,” said Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Judy D. White. “As more than 430,000 students prepare to start the school year exclusively through distance learning, I applaud the Board of Supervisors for recognizing the value to the community of investing in our students today by allocating funds that connect local students to their education.”
Additional information on the All For One campaign can be found online at www.rcoe.us/foundation/all-for-one.