Bridging the "digital divide" in Idaho

Posted at 10:39 AM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 12:39:21-04

BOISE, Idaho — Technology has become a crucial element in most district's back-to-school plans. For students who do not have a device, access to remote learning is tricky.

That is why Idaho Business for Education has collected hundreds of computers for local students to use this upcoming school year. It's all part of the "Close the Digital Divide" event. The group collected nearly 13,000 used computers at drop-off locations across the state.

Idaho Business for Education also got about $20,000 in cash donations. That money can be used to buy computers or internet services for students in need. Organizers say the event was successful, all thanks to the help of their volunteers.

“We had volunteers from all sectors of our community. It was really an Idaho effort," said Rod Gramer, Idaho Business for Education President and CEO. "All Idahoans really leaned in and we had more than 100 volunteers all across the state working on this.”

Governor Little announced he will be putting millions of dollars toward funding these digital resources. In a press conference last week, Gov. Little emphasized the importance of getting students back in the classroom, but said with case numbers still high each day, online may be the safest option.

“Blended learning will be a reality for many Idaho students," said Governor Little. "We're equipping schools with computers, connectivity and other resources to ensure successful remote learning.”

School will be different for each district, but each student should be able to access their curriculum from home.