WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine says the coronavirus pandemic proves internet access at home is vital for students.
“When they had to shut school attendance in March, they transitioned over to online content but, again, it only works if you’ve got broadband connectivity,” Kaine said.
This is why Kaine, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and more than 40 other senators introduced the Emergency Educational Connections Act, providing $4 billion for schools and libraries to supply things like modems, routers and internet-enabled devices.
“It’s important for telehealth. It’s important to be able to work at home but it’s particularly very important if you’re going to have to study at home,” Warner said.
The bill prioritizes support for those in need and also allows schools and libraries to use the equipment after the pandemic is over.
“This is not going to suddenly go away when the pandemic is over,” Kaine said.
Warner says the country needs to fix this problem to stay competitive.
“We’re behind countries like Korea. We’re behind parts of China. We’re behind Japan. And that gives rural communities in those countries, frankly, an advantage over rural communities in America,” Warner said.
Warner and Kaine say around 12 million students in the country struggle to do their homework because of these limitations.
They believe these changes would be a step in the right direction.