To help with the digital divide for students without home internet, the Bartlesville Regional United Way (BRUW), with the support of Phillips 66, awarded $100,000 to the Bartlesville Public Schools. The district will use the funding to purchase 250 more cellular hotspots in July, doubling the total owned by the district. The devices provide students with internet access when a family lacks home internet service, allowing the students to successfully use a district-issued Chromebook should the student be in Distance Learning.
The grant recognizes the likelihood of some Distance Learning periods due to self-quarantines resulting from COVID-19. It includes cellular service for the hotspots for the entire 2020-21 academic year, and the devices will be useful in later academic years with the district paying for cellular service.
“We implemented the 2020 BRUW COVID-19 Impact Grant Program to assist area non-profits which are helping those who have been impacted by the global pandemic known as the coronavirus,” said Lisa Cary, President and CEO of the BRUW. “These are unprecedented and challenging times, and we want to make sure the United Way steps up to meet the needs of those in the communities we serve.”
She added, “I am very grateful for Phillips 66’s very generous $300,000 contribution to support frontline organizations that are responding to the pandemic efforts, including first responders, food banks, healthcare, education services, and other organizations serving the most vulnerable populations during this time.”
Cary indicated that supporting the Bartlesville Public School district in helping students with Distance Learning fits into BRUW's mission of leading the fight to improve the health, education, and financial stability of every person in its communities.
Each hotspot provides 500 megabytes of data per day to allow students to submit online assignments, use online learning tools, and engage for limited periods of time in virtual conferencing with their teachers.