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Pike County students to get free internet access

The Alabama Broadband Connectivity for Students program will provide free internet access for students who are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program through their schools.

All students in Pike County Schools are enrolled in the program, therefore, each family will receive a prepaid voucher beginning August 24.

The voucher that is received in the mail will cover the cost of equipment, installation and high-speed internet from the fall through December 31, 2020.

Stephanie Snyder, Pike County Technology Coordinator, said, after receiving the voucher, it will be necessary to call the internet provider of one’s choice and give them the voucher number and sign up for the service.

“It is my understanding that each family will receive a prepaid voucher, so those who already have internet service should give their internet provider their voucher number so they will be given credit on their account, through December 31,” Snyder said.

Those who are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program but do not receive their vouchers by the end of August should contact their school office to make sure their mailing address on file is correct.

Snyder said the Pike County Schools Technology Department is making appointments for students who need to lease a device for virtual learning.

“Pike County Schools purchased 750 laptops for lease by students who don’t have access to a device at home,” Snyder said. “These devices are necessary for virtual assignments.”

Snyder said students who have chosen the traditional school option for the 2000-2021 school year will still have virtual assignments for work at home.

The reasoning behind those virtual home assignments, Snyder said, is that all students need to be familiar with the virtual learning option in the event it becomes necessary to switch from the traditional option to the virtual option at some point during the school year.

Snyder said the Pike County School’s Technology Department is making appointments for students who need to lease a device for virtual learning. To rent a device, call 334-566-1850 or the student’s local school. The secretary will take the necessary information and the Technology Department will schedule an appointment.

In late July, 2020, Governor Kay Ivey allocated $100 million in CARES Act funding for a public-private partnership to increase access to internet for K-12 students attending school in the fall who will need internet service for distance learning.

The program, Alabama Broadband Connectivity for Students, will provide vouchers for families of students in the National School Lunch Program or other income criteria. The vouchers will assist with equipment and service costs for high-speed internet service.