School buses in this city are helping bridge the digital divide

CINCINNATI, Indiana -- School buses in Cincinnati are helping bridge the digital divide for virtual learners by taking the internet connection to them.

One in five people lack high-speed internet, which includes an alarming 15 to 16 million students.

"I wake up and get the bus together so the kids can have WiFi to do their schoolwork," bus driver Myla Page told ABC.

The school buses in South Bend, Indiana are providing connectivity for remote learning to over 16,000 students in the area.

"My WiFi at home isn't very good in general- (this) makes it easier for me to get stuff done," one student said.

What started as a project before the pandemic, is now a lifeline.

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"Nearly 30% of our students did not have access to WiFi, and so what we thought we were doing was providing internet access to extend the day. Little did we know that with COVID-19, we would be providing internet access to our students and their families at home," Superintendent Todd Cummings said.

For school principal Shawn Henderson, the buses helping narrow the gap is personal.

"My desire to be principal has always been just to serve the students in our community. One student without internet in our district is too many," Henderson said.

Mother of two, Gabby Hernandez, spends her days in the car outside the WiFi buses so her daughters can access E-learning.

"I don't have much room in the vehicle, so they have to get as comfortable as they can," she said.

But this is only a band-aid, winter is near and this is only a temporary solution.

"My dream and the district's dream is that every student in the district that needs internet will have access. We believe it's a basic human right," Cummings said.
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