Low income Ocosta students automatically eligible for free home internet connections

Joint effort by Comcast and OSPI

The Daily World

Low-income students and families in the Ocosta School District are eligible for free home internet connections through a joint effort by Comcast and the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

OSPI is taking advantage of Internet Essentials, a Comcast program designed for low-income families and individuals to acquire access to the internet, to support Washington’s K–12 Internet Access Program, which allows students and their families who previously didn’t have internet access to connect to online learning at home.

The Comcast portion of the OSPI program will serve up to 38,000 qualifying low-income families in the state with free internet service through the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic school year, according to a Comcast statement released Thursday.

“The program directly impacts low-income students and families in the Ocosta School District, making them instantly eligible for the complimentary service,” read the statement.

The program will provide service to up to 60,000 students and their families statewide through the end of the 2020–21 school year at no cost to the family, read a Thursday OSPI statement. The program is reserved for students who are low-income and did not have internet access before August 2020.

To participate in the program, potentially eligible families should receive information, including a promo/offer code from a provider, from their local school district. Families may also contact their district to request information. OSPI is compiling a list with a contact person for this program at each district.

Families will sign up with the provider, install the equipment, and then be able to connect to remote learning.

“Our services have never been more important, and we’re doing everything we can to keep people connected to the internet during this unprecedented time,” said Rodrigo Lopez, Region Senior Vice President, Comcast Washington. “We’re working to ensure that households are equipped for students to learn and stay informed at home and are proud to partner with Superintendent Reykdal to help keep kids connected through our Internet Essentials program.”

Funding for the Washington’s K–12 Internet Access Program comes from the federal CARES Act. To help with COVID-related costs, Congress provided $195 million to Washington’s school districts and $21 million to OSPI for statewide coordination and support. The $195 million has already been provided to districts to address COVID-related needs. For more information, visit https://www.k12.wa.us/about-ospi/press-releases/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-resources/k%E2%80%9312-internet-access-program.