Georgia DOE will help more than 12 million students with distance learning

Ten states will benefit from the distance learning partnership with Verizon

The Georgia Department of Education and Verizon are working to fast-track distance learning for students in 10 states in the Southeast and beyond that have suffered the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 12 million students in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) public schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia will benefit from Verizon’s sponsor-state agreement with GaDOE to provide those school systems with discounted service plans for unlimited 4G LTE Internet access, mobile device management (MDM) and Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)-compliant security applications.

With all of Georgia’s 181 districts having the option to purchase the plans, more than 1.7 million Georgia students could have an enhanced digital learning experience due to the partnership, Meghan Frick, Georgia DOE communications director, said Thursday.

»MORE: Georgia schools still free to choose their own fall opening dates

“As a nation and as an educational community, we are truly in this together as we respond to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement. “This partnership allows us to come together with other states to leverage buying power and deliver connectivity solutions for our students.”

Access to a reliable 4G LTE Internet connection can help build a more equitable educational system long-term since a lack of Internet access can impact students’ ability to attend classes virtually. Thousands of students in each of the 10 states will begin the upcoming school year from home, while the country awaits more progress in the fight against COVID-19.

“Together with the Georgia Department of Education, Verizon has stepped up to help solve the mission-critical need for up to 12.5 million students across 10 states to have the Internet access, devices and security solutions they need to continue learning,” Andrés Irlando, senior vice president and president, public sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon, said in a statement. “The unprecedented and unpredictable nature of the Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of keeping students connected to their schools, teachers and each other no matter the learning environment.”

»MORE: Trump warns he may ‘cut off funding’ if schools don’t reopen

Eligible schools will be required to sign an authorized customer agreement in order to purchase from the Georgia Sponsor State Distance Learning Initiative agreement. Schools and school districts interested in finding out more about eligibility can visit the Verizon Distance Learning Information site or call 800-317-3841.