January 11, 2022
The Citywide Classroom South Bend partnership, which includes the South Bend Community School Corporation, City of South Bend, and local nonprofit enFocus, announced that the program is further expanding eligibility for families to receive free at-home internet and hotspot connections.
The program has been open to all qualifying students in the South Bend Community School Corporation and is now expanding eligibility to all 21st Century Scholars in South Bend Schools, teachers, staff, and school employees. Additionally, students who have already received a hotspot with 1-year coverage will automatically receive a new hotspot with 5 years of coverage upon expiration of the 1-year connection.
“We’re thrilled that we’re able to open this resource to so many more of our students and families,” said Patrick Stalvey, Chief Technology Officer for South Bend Community Schools. “As educators, we know that accessible and reliable internet connectivity is crucial for the success of our students, now more than ever. That we’ve been able to further develop this partnership and expand its reach is at the heart of our mission as public educators.”
So far during a needs-based rollout of at-home internet connections and WiFi hotspots, more than 2,800 connections have been distributed to students in South Bend.
“We believe access to learning is a right, not a privilege,” said Madi Rogers, enFocus Project Manager. “With this expanded eligibility, we hope to continue connecting the South Bend Schools community with learning opportunities and tools that enable everyone to thrive.”
“This expansion is yet another way partners in our city are working together to help bridge the digital divide,” said Denise Linn Riedl, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of South Bend. “We look forward to providing even more community and at-home connectivity options for our residents in the months to come!”
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that 30 percent of South Bend households lack home internet access. The $1.8 million provided through the Governors Emergency Education Relief grant allows the Citywide Classroom South Bend partnership to distribute more than 2,200 at-home internet packages and 2,000 WiFi hotspots to students in South Bend.
Families that lack internet access can contact administrators at their student’s school to inquire about eligibility to receive equipment.
Parents and students interested in applying should visit www.citywideclassroomsb.org/apply.