Indiana students in poverty or living in rural areas are having major issues with connectivity as they continue to study virtually at home -- an option many students are taking and parents are wanting as they fear the risk of getting Covid-19 at school.
"The service is poor, so they’ll get kicked out of the classroom,” said Warrick County School Corp. superintendent Brad Schneider.
He said some parents who have more than one child are also struggling with the virtual program, like mom of two EVSC students, Liz Garcia.
"I have my work laptop, which I need for work obviously, so we're kind of sharing that amongst the three of us,” Garcia said. “So a little challenging there. So just trying to schedule things out so we all have a turn with our computer."
But $61M in new Government Emergency Education Relief Money is aiming to help relieve these issues, with both EVSC and Warrick County Schools getting over $900,000 a piece and the University of Evansville getting over $735,00 to help improve connectivity and purchase mobile devices like Chromebooks.
And the amount of students choosing to go virtual keeps increasing every day. With EVSC going from 2,500 to 2,700 kids and Warrick going up from 1,200 to nearly 1,400 kids now online since the start of this school year.
"I have some buildings that are approaching twenty percent of our students going virtual," Schneider said. "So again, that’s why we presented it as an option. We wanted to give parents that choice."
"It's absolutely essential to the success of virtual learning," Garcia said. "I mean if we don't have the technology, we can't do anything."
The three Warrick County students who tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, Aug. 20 are now too participating in the virtual learning program and the superintendent anticipates more instances like this will continue as the school year goes on.