SAISD Foundation raising money to pay monthly internet service fees for students

Many students in need of hotspot devices

Some SAISD students have not been able to log on to virtual classrooms because they don’t have the technology or internet access. The SAISD Foundation is working to fix that issue.

SAN ANTONIO – It’s been about four weeks since students have been out of school because of COVID-19 and many districts have turned to “distance learning” to keep students on top of their studies.

But not every student has been able to log on to virtual classrooms because they don’t have the technology or internet access.

For Lucille Martinez, it was already difficult for her four children to deal with the fact that they weren’t going to be able to go back to school at Herff Academy to see their friends. But things became more challenging when distance learning started and they didn’t have the technology they needed.

“We were trying to get all four of them on one iPad, and so, that was really a challenge,” Martinez said.

So far, the San Antonio Independent School District has already distributed more than 23,000 new Chrome Books and another 17,000 devices that the district already had to close the digital divide. But there was also the issue of internet service.

“The devices are super important, but if they don’t have the WIFI accessibility to get online (they can’t get) on these platforms,” said SAISD Foundation Executive Director Judy Geelhoed.

SAISD: Students to receive additional resources at home amid school closures

The SAISD Foundation is raising money to pay monthly service fees associated with broadband access and the district has been able to hand out 3,500 hotspots, but Geelhoed said the need is still rising.

“As folks have been laid off or furloughed from their own positions, internet has been one of the things that they’ve had to make tough decisions about canceling,” Geelhoed said. “We’ve also have heard from more families since the deployment.”

Martinez said each of her four children now have their own technology and with a hotspot, they have all been able to catch up on their assignments.

“It’s helped me out quite a bit, because otherwise I don’t have the means to get them all into their activities and to continue on a daily basis and to keep them up to date," Martinez said.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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About the Authors:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.