Mother of 4 says her kids don't have access to computers or Internet

Friday, August 21, 2020
Parents concerned about digital divide during virtual learning
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One mother said she's afraid to allow her children to return to school due to safety concerns, but she doesn't have access to a laptop or wifi.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light a big problem in education and the digital divide.

That's the term used to describe those who have reliable access to computers and the internet, and those who don't have access.

The digital divide can greatly impact a child's education.

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Mitzi Duncan is a mother to four children who attend Alvin ISD schools. The district plans to start school on Monday, Aug. 24.

Alvin ISD is allowing parents the option to decide whether their child returns to campus or continues remote learning.

Duncan said she plans to keep her three children at home out of safety concerns. She said the problem is, they don't have access to any computers or reliable internet.

READ MORE: 10 school districts push back on Harris Co. back to school plan

"When I reached out to the school and explained to them that none of them had laptops, I was informed that they had no help for Alvin ISD. They didn't have the funds available and that they ordered some laptops and hotspots," Duncan said. "They're all back ordered. They're so in demand that Alvin hasn't been able to get them. As a mother, it really bothers me. I feel like there are students that can't get to school, that are not going to have the devices, that are not going to get an education because school districts don't have what they need to help the students. That's why I feel sorry for them. I know there are kids that are struggling, and parents are struggling."

Duncan lost her job in June after the Pearland restaurant she worked at closed permanently.

Alvin ISD released the following statement:

"Alvin ISD is aware and sensitive to the needs of our diverse community. Through this pandemic, we have continually taken steps to use district resources including technology to serve our students. This includes students who have identified needs and are at risk for not being able to access a learning environment. Due to the vastness of our 252 square mile district, there are rural areas that do not have the infrastructure for connectivity at a level needed for virtual learning. Alvin ISD is offering an option for these students in the safest environment possible, so they can be taught on campus when a virtual option is not possible at their home."

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