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Senator Van Hollen concerned with education’s “digital divide” impact

April 25th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

The COVID-19 pandemic has left over 800,000 Maryland children to learn from a distance but, when it comes to distance learning, it has also left many in the dark. WTOP reports teachers have been attempting to deliver their curriculum virtually since March 16, but are finding that many of their students don’t have adequate access to computers, internet or a combination of the two.

Last week, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon extended the month-long school closure to May 15, with the future of the remaining school year hanging in the balance and a number of kids languishing with limited access to education services.

“State and local school officials are preparing for a number of scenarios depending on when our educators and students would be able to re-enter school buildings,” Salmon said at a news conference outside the State House Friday.

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) held a virtual discussion with stakeholders across the state Tuesday to address what has been done to reach kids who seem unreachable, and how the state should move forward even when the crisis is through.

Van Hollen’s roundtable addressed the “homework gap,” or the inequity faced by kids who don’t have adequate access to technology in their homes to complete assignments. The senator said that the mandatory distance learning that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic has shown “an even greater and stark light” on these inequities in school systems throughout Maryland and the nation.

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