CYD Distributes Hotspots for Remote Learning

CYD distributes 100 mobile hotspots and supports remote learning at partner schools.

The digital divide separating people with and without internet got a bit narrower last month, when Comprehensive Youth Development (CYD) began distributing hotspots and data plans to students who could not afford enough connectivity to fully engage in remote learning.

Loizos Karaiskos

Loizos Karaiskos, Assistant Principal, collects hotspots from CYD for distribution to students at The High School for Health Professions and Human Services.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Pine Tree Foundation of New York matched by CYD’s Board of Directors, CYD was able to purchase and distribute mobile hotspots and data plans for 100 students at CYD partner schools.

Many CYD-assisted students live below the poverty line. Without connectivity, it’s been hard for them to participate in remote classes and complete their schoolwork online. NYC public high schools shut down in March 2020 and remain closed after a spike in COVID-19 cases in November.

CYD purchased the hotspot packages from Mobile Citizen, a provider of low-cost mobile internet and an advocate for affordable broadband as a way of advancing social equity. Each package includes one hotspot unit that can connect up to 16 devices at a time and a 12-month service plan for fast wireless internet data. The connectivity for multiple devices allow students, their siblings, and other family members to all be connected to the internet at the same time.

School and CYD staffs have worked creatively to get the units to students while schools are closed. Imiya, a student living in foster care in Brooklyn, was brought a hotstpot unit by her school caseworker, who made the trip by train. Taylor, now in her senior year, had moved with her family to New Jersey due to economic hardship; the hotspot package sent to her has allowed her to stay connected with school. Taylor is on track to graduate in 2021.

CYD has received several messages of thanks from students and parents who are grateful for the support. They tell us the equipment and the service plans are working perfectly. One mother said: “You guys really saved us. Thank you. I appreciate it.”

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