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WCPS Supporting New Internet Service in Student Homes

Posted August 27, 2020

Washington County Public Schools (WCPS) is using grant funding to provide WCPS students with new internet connectivity in their homes during distance learning. Through the award of a series of grants, and an expansion of WCPS’ partnership with Antietam Broadband, more students will have access to broadband service for the 2020-2021 school year.

Antietam Broadband’s Edu-Net program was previously only available to students who qualify for Free and Reduced Meals (FARM). Now through the expansion of the program, any family who has children enrolled in WCPS and did not have service before July 1, 2020 can receive internet service free of charge in their home.

“The COVID-19 pandmemic has proven to us the importance of having broadband connectivity in all homes,” said Dr. Boyd Michael, superintendent of WCPS. “Our students must have access to the internet to participate in distance learning, receive vital services from our schools, and continue to develop academically, socially, and emotionally.“

In partnership with Antietam Broadband, the local broadband provider’s qualifications have been relaxed to support the virtual learning needs of students in grades pre-k through 12. The program is expected to extend through the end of the school year in 2021 or when full classroom learning resumes.

“Community partnerships are at the core of our company,” said Brian Lynch, president of Antietam Broadband. “During this pandemic it has become even more clear the value of those partnerships and the need to find new and innovative ways to support the community. We are proud to partner with WCPS and support families and students in our area.”

To qualify for free internet service through the expanded Edu-Net program, applicants must:

·       Have a student enrolled in WCPS in their household.

·       Live in the Antietam Broadband service area and not have been a broadband customer after July 1, 2020.

·       Complete the application on the WCPS website and be approved by the school system.

Qualified students will have access to broadband service with a speed of 25/3 Mbps. Families will not be charged for the service for the duration of the program. Antietam Broadband will provide a free standard installation and a free modem/router for the term of the program. Participants will receive 30 days advance notice prior to the expiration of the program, whether that is the close of the school year or a time during the academic year when students can return to in-person learning in classrooms.

WCPS reserves the right to discontinue internet service if it is not being used for the purpose of participating in WCPS educational opportunities, including daily live, online lessons through distance learning.

Interested participants can complete the Edu-Net program registration available here.