The Cuyahoga County Board of Health holds press conference updating citizens on the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings.
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish addressed the Friday, April 10 briefing by talking about schools and kids in the community.
Twenty-five percent of families in Cuyahoga County do not have a computer or internet access to do homework.
“Schools are out possibly through the summer our kids are not on vacation though schools are trying to continue educating our children and doing it online,” said Budish. He said that’s great providing families have access to the internet and a computer. He shared that 25 percent of families in Cuyahoga County do not have a computer or internet access to do homework.
“We’ve recognized this problem of lack of connectivity for years. A couple years ago we created the Connect the Unconnected program we worked with Huntington Bank and the Cleveland Foundation the county libraries, the Cleveland libraries and we purchased 250 hotspots which they’ve been circulating on a borrowing basis,” said Budish. He said that doesn’t solve the problem though during this pandemic, especially as libraries have had to close which means that those hotspots aren’t able to continue to circulate.
“The county’s donating 300 hotspots to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, CMSD, the hotspots were graciously provided by the Board of Elections and were scheduled to be used for the March in-person primary obviously that didn’t happen and these hotspots will be replaced for the November election,” said Budish. CMSD will distribute the hotspots.
AT&T will provide two months of free internet access for the [donated] hotspots.
He said AT&T will also provide two months of free internet access for the hotspots – through at least the end of the school year. He said the county is also working with Secure Recycling to provide Chromebooks for students to use with the hotspots through the end of the school year.
He said the county has also put out a call to businesses in the community to donate things like keyboards, computer mice and hotspots that can be donated to PCs for People.
Budish said PCs for People, “provides free or low-cost internet access to individuals based on income and low-cost internet plans they can safely pick up and refurbish computers and hotspots to go out to users this includes computer cleaning and data destruction.”
He said pickup is free for most equipment and hotspots, keyboards, computer mice and monitors are the most in need right now.
The county has also made a map of where people can go for free internet access
Budish said the county has also made a map of where people can go for free internet access. He said the handouts will go to families at CMSD meal pickup locations and will include a reminder on how to safely access public internet and use social distancing.
“During this coronavirus crisis we want to give all of our kids even those who don’t have a computer and can’t afford internet access we want to give them all an equal chance to continue learning while this is going on,” said Budish.