School district covers Internet access for local families in need

$15,000 grant for hot spots and home Internet

[ By Kendra Walker ]

The Gunnison Watershed School District has been awarded $15,000 through the state’s Connecting Colorado Students grant program to support Internet access needs across the district.

The school district plans to prioritize the funds for students and families in need of Internet, and will provide them the option to either sign up for a district-issued hot spot or home Internet.

Last spring, the district started providing hot spots for families in need of reliable Internet during the pandemic shutdown. “Katie Gallagher (district technology integration specialist) gets the credit for getting the grant,” said district superintendent Leslie Nichols. “This grant will allow us to continue that hot spot program through the end of this school year.”

Currently, the district has checked out approximately 60 hot spots, and Nichols estimates there may be about 50-100 more families that could use more reliable home-based Internet.

“The Gunnison students are so spread out throughout the valley, and the cell service can be unreliable in CB South that we know there are families and staff that could use hot spots or Internet,” said Nichols. “We’re trying to identity families who have inadequate or no home Internet-based service, as well as try to find the families who can’t use hot spots because they have no cell service.”

If families are currently using a district-issued hot spot and would like to continue, no action is necessary and the monthly hot spot fees will continue to be paid through May 2021. If families are currently using a district-issued hot spot but cell coverage is unreliable, or do not have stable and reliable home Internet access, they can get Internet fees and monthly costs covered through May 2021.

If interested in signing up for the program, contact Katie Gallagher at kgallagher@gunnisonschools.net or 970-641-7770.

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