Colbert County school leaders trying to bridge the digital divide

Colbert County school leaders trying to bridge the digital divide

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WAFF) - Reliable internet connections are vital for any virtual learning program. While some students will return to the classroom next month, others will be taking a digital alternative.

But this alternative isn’t easily accessible for everyone.

The digital divide hits home for families in Colbert County. Technology and Wi-Fi in rural counties aren’t as accessible for a lot of families.

“There are around about 1,000 kids, probably half our student population that doesn’t have internet access throughout our county,” said technology coordinator Lewis Delbert.

But Colbert County schools administrators are working to change that

“We’ve opened up our Wi-Fi throughout our schools to encompass the parking lots and as far as we can reach out,” Delbert said.

And they are working with local leaders to bring in more access points.

“Another thing that we’re doing is working with the county commissioners and trying to identify different agencies or entities that can actually bring in the services that our boys and girls need,” said Colbert County Schools Superintendent Gale Satchel.

Satchel says it’s imperative to address the divide.

“It does not at this time level the playing field for our boys and girls,” she said.

She says while they are working hard to try to conquer the digital divide, students have the option still stay home but go old school.

“We’ll do whatever we can to work with our boys and girls and their families, but at the end of the day if nothing else works, we’ll go back to what we all began with and that was with pencil and pen,” she said.

School administrators are finalizing details on a pen-and-paper option for students who do not have internet access.

The school system will contact parents with more details as those options become available.

Copyright 2020 WAFF. All rights reserved.