(WETM-TV) — As much of the country is seeing a fall surge in COVID-19 cases, many schools are heading back to remote learning but some students still don’t have accesses to proper internet connection.
“Broadband has been an issue,” said Senator George Borrello, New York 57th District. “Now after the pandemic with people having to work from home, children having to learn from home, it truly came from a need to an urgent crisis.”
Recently, Senator Borrello helped expand broadband access to parts of the Southern Tier region.
“People are are frustrated, but hopefully we’re providing some hope that we can you know we can we can shorten the timeline here,” Senator Borrello said. “The educators, they’ve done the best they can. They issued iPads, they bought those MIFI cards that work on a cellular signal, they’ve done what they can to mitigate it but in our in our rural areas, there are so many areas where even cellular signals are a problem.”
Senator Borrello told 18 News that he is working with other local lawmakers, including 58th District Senator, Tom O’Mara, to expand broadband access.
In Northern Pennsylvania, 68th District Representative Clint Owlett sponsored house bill 2438 to expand broadband internet access to rural communities in the commonwealth.
“There’s still, individuals and folks that are not able to connect,” Rep. Owlett said. “That’s a problem because that is the educational option for those students right now. They really don’t have another option.”
Owlett said even with the newly passed law, Pennsylvania residents still face one or two major problems.
“It’s either: the service is not going to work or the cost event service that they need to have to be able to provide an education for the kids right now – both are real issues,” Rep. Owlett said. “Without broadband services that will actually work, it’s a challenge. School districts are coming up with different options and ways, they aren’t forgetting about it and they’re getting creative in how they do it. That’s what’s important. To make sure these kids are getting the education that they deserve and that they need to become the next leaders in our communities.”
Even with broadband advancements, lawmakers know their work to help the education system is far from over.
“The education of our kids is incredibly important, they’re the leaders of tomorrow,” Rep. Owlett said. “Let’s do our best and just please know we’re fighting for you and we’re going to continue to do everything we can in this office to make sure you have a great educational opportunity even amidst a pandemic.”
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