Many Latino Students Unable to Gain Access to the Internet While Being in Distance Learning
Photo by Juliya Shangarey
With the rise of students returning to school online, many students in the Latino community have found it difficult to obtain internet access. As the pandemic expanded across the country earlier this year and states mandating lockdowns, many schools closed and suspended all in-person teaching indefinitely.
According to a report in NPR, the change was quite brutal not just for students, but for teachers as well. Teachers were forced to learn how to manage an entire school online in only a couple of days. Schools also began to distribute school property supplies such as laptops, notebooks, and writing utensils to all students to ensure every student was well supplied.
Many students, however, were still struggling. Latino communities in particular are hit hard across the U.S. due to the lack of internet access. It is estimated that around 1,000 latino communities need internet access.
Internet connection isn’t affordable to many families in rural communities. According to a Pew Research Center study conducted in 2019, only 28% of Hispanics were reported to own a computer, smartphone and internet connection all together.
SOMOS Community Care also conducted a survey this year and found that approximately 40% of Latino students that were reported to not have access to the Internet.
This issue has caused many Latino families to turn to public hotspot locations such as McDonalds and public libraries in order to have access to their online classes. But due to the inside closure of all non-essential businesses and various lockdowns, access to free internet hotspots for many families have become minimal.
Consequently, Hispanic students’ grades are falling more than any other demographic in Fairfax County.