CHICAGO – As the COVID-19 public health crisis keeps students out of the classroom, state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, D-Chicago, is focusing on the importance of ensuring all families have access to affordable, high-speed internet so that students may continue their education from home.
“With traditional school buildings closed for the foreseeable future, learning over the internet is the only way students may continue their education with their teachers,” Ford said. “I’m concerned that the pandemic has put some students in a losing situation and they will fall behind without adequate access to the internet and other resources. There is already a divide between children who have access to the internet and technology and those who do not, this crisis is only making the difference starker.”
Ford is encouraging the state to prioritize increasing broadband access in the coming months to communities not yet connected. Last year, Illinois began a $420 million statewide expansion of broadband infrastructure, and Ford wants to make sure that low-income areas are not left behind. Ford has drafted legislative language to provide broadband services at no cost to all residents of the state, with priority given to areas with high levels of poverty and lacking infrastructure to receive high-speed internet access.
“Illinois can no longer ignore the need to make sure every community has the necessary infrastructure in place to provide affordable broadband internet access to all families,” Ford said. “Our ongoing pandemic could keep schools closed going into the next school year, let’s take action now.”
For general information on the state’s response to COVID-19, please visit coronavirus.illinois.gov.
Visit Rep. LaShawn K. Ford’s website
239-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 557-4502 FAX
5051 W Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60651