6 months into pandemic, nearly 50,000 L.A. County students still need computers and Wi-Fi

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On Aug. 19, 2020, when Glendale Unified School District kicks off the academic year, 20 of the district's elementary schools will open some empty classrooms for remote learning. (Stephanie Becker/CNN)

On Aug. 19, 2020, when Glendale Unified School District kicks off the academic year, 20 of the district’s elementary schools will open some empty classrooms for remote learning. (Stephanie Becker/CNN)

Six months after schools closed amid the coronavirus crisis and with online learning in full swing, tens of thousand of students remain without adequate digital access and school districts in Los Angeles County report they still need nearly 50,000 computers and Wi-Fi hot spots.

The numbers are a stark reminder that technology access continues to pose a significant barrier to distance learning as schools in Los Angeles County will not be allowed to fully reopen until at least November.

“I’m very concerned if there’s even a small fraction of students who aren’t accessing, especially when we’re talking about students who are already more vulnerable and disadvantaged,” said Debra Duardo, superintendent of the L.A. County Office of Education. “There is already a gap, whether you want to call it an academic gap or an opportunity gap. There is already a gap, and we don’t want that gap to get any larger.”

The Office of Education, which provides services and financial oversight for the county’s 80 school districts, released the numbers Tuesday, the same day that the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to approve $14.9 million in spending to help close the technology gap. Duardo’s office had requested the funding based on a survey of needs in local school systems.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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