Most school districts in California have transitioned to some form of distance learning. However, not all students in the state have access to high-speed internet at home. For that reason, Comcast California is teaming up with the Sacramento City Unified School District and the City of Sacramento to provide Sac City Unified families with free internet access for six months. The new initiative, called Sac City Kids Connect, provides Comcast’s Internet Essentials program to qualifying low income families, provided they live in a Comcast service area.
“Internet access is more important now than it has ever been,” said John Gauder, Senior Vice President, Comcast California. “We are so pleased to partner with Sac City Unified and Sacramento’s visionary leadership team to help students get free access to the internet at home. For many, this will be the first time they have had internet access at home and it is hugely meaningful.”
Since 2011, more than 8 million low-income Americans have been connected to the Internet at home through Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. This includes more than one million residents across California, which is the number one state in terms of overall participation in the program. Nearly 165,000 low-income individuals have been connected in the greater Sacramento area.
“Here at the city, one of our top concerns is making sure young people growing up in all of our neighborhoods have a chance to stay here and get a good job,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “Unless we get them connected to the internet, this coronavirus pandemic threatens to put kids who already have a lot to overcome at an even greater disadvantage.”
Sac City Unified began its distance learning on April 13 and has worked to provide its students with access to computers and the internet. Today’s announcement of Sac City Kids Connect begins a public-private partnership that will serve as a model for districts throughout the state. The district estimates that approximately 6,600 of its students currently do not have internet access.
“Our mission to meet our students’ academic, social and emotional needs didn’t end when schools closed,” said Sac City Unified Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. “Lack of internet access is a barrier, even during normal times. In these extraordinary times, this barrier becomes all the more evident for many of our students, but especially our most vulnerable. We continue to work tirelessly to remove every obstacle that might prevent our students from reaching their educational goals.”
More information including eligibility requirements and instructions about how to sign up for Sac City Kids Connect can be found at www.scusd.edu/kidsconnect. The site is designed specifically for use with mobile phones or tablets. For more information, or to apply for Internet Essentials, please visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers can also call 1-855-765-6995.