Northeast Ohio school districts reveal lack of WiFi access for thousands of students


(WJW) — Arsenio Mercado, 17, a student at Rhodes College and Career Academy in Cleveland, is continuing his junior year at home.

But with limited access to WiFi and lacking a suitable device, virtual learning has been difficult.

“There a lot of people on the bandwidth services on the internet and what not, and it kind of messes with everyone’s internet connection,” said Mercado.

Chaneka Singleton has a second-grader, home-schooling her 7-year old son, Ronald.

“He’s used to being on the computer; he’s not always doing paperwork. So right now it is a little difficult, because I don’t have the tools I need for him to do his homework on the computer.”

With more than half of its students off-line, Cleveland Metropolitan School District superintendent and CEO Eric Gordon says the district has been working around the clock to get them logged in.

“The status quo is the challenge. We have a very diverse community; we have some students and families that are plugged in digitally, have internet, ready to roar on a digital platform. We have other families that don’t have an internet or device.”

Gordon says in just the past week, dozens of laptops have been delivered to homes, and WiFi hot spots have been given to those in need.

He’s also been updating families weekly through video messages posted on the district’s website.

“We will also continue our technology distribution throughout the week as well, focusing first on our high school students. “

That’s good news for Arsenio Mercado, who recently received a laptop, receiving top grades in all AP courses.

“If per se, if we were to go back to school tomorrow, I’d be right where I’m supposed to be.”

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