NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - In New Orleans alone, 42,000 students will begin the school year learning virtually. New Orleans school leaders say they’ve worked to make sure every student has a laptop or Chromebook, but there’s still a gap in connectivity.
New Orleans City Council Vice President Helena Morena says 9,000 students are without wifi. In the short term, she says everyone must work together to get hot spots for those families.
Of course, New Orleans isn't alone, about 8,000 Jefferson Parish student chose to virtually learn this school year.
Jefferson Parish school leaders are working with COX to get people connected. COX is offering families who qualify, two months free wifi and then it’s $9.95 every month after that. COX says since the pandemic began, they’ve connected 36,000 families across the country to the wifi program.
Councilwoman Moreno, though, says with the digital divide in the city of New Orleans, now is the time to look for a long term solution.
“I believe the long term solution is some type of public Wifi system.. there are countless cities throughout the country and countless cities throughout the world that are able to make it work. New Orleans is not,” says Helena Moreno.
“The goal is 100 percent access so that everybody that needs it has that ability so what that technically looks like. We’re still working everything out, but ultimately the goal is to make sure no one is being left behind,” says Beau Tidwell.
The Cantrell Administration agrees, it’s time to start figuring out a way to get public wifi. Moreno is now sponsoring a motion to explore ways to make that happen. Her motion will be discussed at Thursday’s council meeting.