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Message to Congress: In COVID-19 era, internet access is a basic necessity

Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

Five months have passed since businesses and schools across the Commonwealth began shutting their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As educators and business began adapting, one thing became abundantly clear: the internet is as necessary as electricity and plumbing is for our daily lives. As social distancing becomes a matter of life and death, a connection to the world outside our homes is vital to our economy, our education system, and our way of life.

In 2017, census data showed that Kentucky ranks 44th in the nation for broadband access. Nearly 25 percent of our households do not have a subscription for high-speed internet, and more than 15 percent do not have a computer, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. According to a study by Commonsense Media, more than 240,000 Kentucky public school students do not have adequate access to the internet. 

Kentucky’s congressional delegation has a powerful platform to advocate for these families. The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, along with a coalition of education and business leaders from across the state, is encouraging members of Congress to fund home internet access for low-income families and to make broadband access widely available – even in rural areas. Schools and businesses may be closed, but we must ensure that Kentucky’s neediest families have the tools they need to learn and earn online, during the pandemic and beyond.

Message to Congress: In COVID-19 era, internet access is a basic necessity

Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

Five months have passed since businesses and schools across the Commonwealth began shutting their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As educators and business began adapting, one thing became abundantly clear: the internet is as necessary as electricity and plumbing is for our daily lives. As social distancing becomes a matter of life and death, a connection to the world outside our homes is vital to our economy, our education system, and our way of life.

In 2017, census data showed that Kentucky ranks 44th in the nation for broadband access. Nearly 25 percent of our households do not have a subscription for high-speed internet, and more than 15 percent do not have a computer, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. According to a study by Commonsense Media, more than 240,000 Kentucky public school students do not have adequate access to the internet. 

Kentucky’s congressional delegation has a powerful platform to advocate for these families. The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, along with a coalition of education and business leaders from across the state, is encouraging members of Congress to fund home internet access for low-income families and to make broadband access widely available – even in rural areas. Schools and businesses may be closed, but we must ensure that Kentucky’s neediest families have the tools they need to learn and earn online, during the pandemic and beyond.