LEWISTON — In response to the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered classrooms recently, Spectrum’s parent company, Charter Communications Inc., is offering two months of free internet service to families with students kindergarten age through grade 12 and college who are not already internet customers.
The company launched the initiative earlier this week, stating, “Americans rely on high-speed broadband in nearly every aspect of their lives and Charter is committed to ensuring our customers maintain reliable access to the online resources and information they want and need,” according to Lara Pritchard, senior, communications NE for Career Communications.
The company, which serves 29 million customers nationally as well as many communities in central Maine, is offering 60 days of free broadband and wifi access, including installation at no cost to them.
Charter said it plans to partner with school districts to make sure local communities are aware of the tools students need to learn outside the classroom over the internet.
“As the country works collaboratively to contain this pandemic, broadband internet access will be increasingly essential to ensuring that people across the country are able to learn and work remotely, that businesses can continue to serve customers, and that Americans stay connected and engaged with family and friends,” according to Pritchard.
Auburn School Department Supt. Katy Grondin said Wednesday her office has informed parents of students of the Spectrum broadband and wifi offer, noting that the Auburn schools are not planning to offer online learning, but adding that such service “may assist some who wish to communicate with email.”
Lewiston Public Schools Supt. Todd Finn said school instruction is not required while students are at home.
But broadband access “opens up the door to access the optional choices we have already provided for parents to allow their children to stay in learning mode” Finn said.
“As we know, nothing can replace a teacher. Perhaps, the next best thing is a validated, research-based, guaranteed curriculum delivery system that can be accessed online. We are working closely with a partner who provided this service in two of my previous districts and will be communicating this to our stakeholders as another option as we move forward.
“Right now, our primary mission is feeding our children and cleaning our buildings so that they will return to clean spaces well-nourished and ready to meet their amazing teachers and staff who miss them dearly already, he said.”
Meanwhile, parents of students in the Twin Cities area may be visited by Spectrum door-to-door sales representatives who continue to knock on doors.
Pritchard said those employees have been trained in Centers for Disease Control protocols that include social distancing.
Anyone interested in learning more about Charter’s broadband and wifi offer to households of students may call: 1-844-488-8395.
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