GRPL partnership offers free hot spots for students

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Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities - Cook Arts Center is one of five organizations offering free hot spots for students. Courtesy Grand Rapids Public Library

The Grand Rapids Public Library collaborated with five neighborhood organizations to provide free Wi-Fi hot spots for local students and families who are participating in distance and hybrid learning during COVID-19.

The partnering organizations are HQ Runaway and Homeless Youth Drop-in Center, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities – Cook Arts Center, Baxter Community Center and The Urban League. They are offering free mobile hot spots to students and families who lack high-speed internet connection.

“With the expansion of virtual education across the city due to COVID-19, it’s imperative that we confront the digital equity gap,” said Jessica Anne Bratt, youth services supervisor at GRPL. “Students without access to high-speed internet experience an immeasurable disadvantage during distance learning. Providing hot spots to neighborhoods with high needs promotes equitable learning opportunities.

“COVID-19 has further compromised access to the internet as families experience unemployment or underemployment. Many struggle to pay for high-speed internet. GRPL is committed to bridging this technology gap through our community hot spot lending service.”

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