K-12 Connect program aims to provide internet service to all South Dakota students

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Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 2:02 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The state of South Dakota is launching a new program to make sure all students in the state have access to the internet, as many schools experience disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Kristi Noem announced the K-12 Connect program Tuesday, which will provide internet service at no cost to eligible K-12 students in their homes for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

Home access to internet service has been particularly important in 2020. COVID-19 outbreaks have forced some schools to temporarily close, while other times individual students need to stay home due to exposure incidents. Some students are not attending classes in-person this year, and rely entirely on virtual learning for their education.

Officials say eligible households will receive a letter sometime this week indicating eligibility and identifying a telecommunications company to call to access free internet service through K-12 Connect. Someone in the household must call the telecommunications noted in their letter to set up service. Internet service will be provided through June 30, 20201; officials say households must return equipment to the provider after that date, or they will be charged for their service.

To be eligible, households must have at least one student enrolled in school, meet income eligibility guidelines for the free and reduced school lunch program, and not be subscribed to a fixed broadband internet service as of July 1.

Enrollment for the program closes Nov. 20. More information is available on the K-12 Connect website.

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