House Appropriations Committee member Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced the Emergency Educational Connections Act of 2020 to ensure that students have internet access during the coronavirus pandemic.
Her legislation directs the FCC to create a $2 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund. The money would be disbursed to schools and libraries, and Tribal schools and libraries, to purchase WiFi hotspots, modems, routers, and internet-connected devices for students and patrons.
“COVID-19 has forced over 55 million students to stay home during this national health crisis and adjust to a new future that requires internet access and a computer to continue their studies,” said Meng. “Before this crisis occurred, students without internet access at home were part of the so-called ‘homework gap’ and struggled to keep up with their peers who have internet access at home.”
“Today, with schools across the country having moved learning entirely online, this gap seems more like a chasm,” she explained. Meng urged colleagues to support the bill and ensure it’s included in the next coronavirus relief package. In the Senate, Ed Markey (D-MA) pledged to file companion legislation.