LCCAA Partners to Bridge Digital Divide

posted 10/8/20 -- Lorain County Community Action Agency will partner with area schools to help students bridge the digital divide and learn safely from their homes.

LCCAA has been awarded $50,000 from the City of Lorain’s COVID Response Grant Program, funded by the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act). The agency will purchase 200 Internet enabled devices to distribute to schools based on enrollment and need.

“COVID-19 abruptly altered our lives and all kinds of daily activities when we were literally forced onto the Internet for many things routinely done in person,” said LCCAA President and CEO Jackie Boehnlein.

“The digital divide that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic was primarily seen as an unfortunate consequence of poverty. Now, we see that creating digital inclusion is an imperative in order for our children to safely continue their education.”

In Lorain City Schools, 32 percent of parents surveyed in July reported that not having a device was their biggest obstacle to virtual learning. This is more than not having an Internet connection at home (14.9 percent). The survey also found that students with a device and a dependable connection are highly engaged and “good things happen.”

The entire $50,000 will be spent to purchase at least 200 devices at a price point of no more than $250 each. LCCAA is donating its staff time as well as needed supplies estimated to cost $9,500.

LCCAA is in the process of completing formal partnership agreements. Eligible partners to participate in the Digital Inclusion Program are:

Lorain City Schools

Clearview School District

Horizon Science Academy of Lorain

Lorain Preparatory Academy

St. Peter School

Constellation School: Lorain Community Schools

St. Anthony of Padua School

Spectrum Resource Center and School

Summit Academy School

Lorain Bilingual Academy

Devices are being purchased now with all distribution expected to be complete by Dec. 31, Boehnlein said. The Agency is working with Staples, including their Elyria store, to get the devices as soon as possible.