Partnership between City of Covington and its schools brings laptops and wifi to students
The City of Covington worked throughout 2020 to provide devices and connections for students in the Covington Independent School District. When the pandemic hit, nearly 60 percent of families lacked regular internet access. The city government moved quickly to budget $2.5 million from federal pandemic aid to expand internet access across Covington and initiate partnerships to provide 1,900 free computers to families with young children.
“We believe Internet access is as much of an infrastructure issue as water and sewer,” said Covington Mayor Joe Meyer. “We’ve helped the schools and students, but we’ve also helped the broader community.”
The Covington Connect program involved the school district, local housing authority, Cincinnati Bell, and a Texas charity assuring free connections to reach 80 percent of students and families as well as the free computers. With additional hotspots, Glenn O. Swing Elementary Principal Sherry Lindberg said that all students had computers and consistent connections by December.
Lindberg said that these online connections with families and the community will be a greater asset after the pandemic, as will teachers’ new technology skills.
“Our teachers have been phenomenal — and they’ve had to learn an entirely new way to teach,” she said. “This is the hardest work we’ve ever done.”