Students and teachers who lack internet service can go online for free through an offer from Service Electric Cablevision.
The company will provide three months of internet service so students can keep learning even though coronavirus has closed schools.
New subscribers who show that their children are currently in school or that they are employed as teachers can sign up.
Service Electric’s manager Tim Trently said several school districts and parochial schools can take advantage of the offer. They include Hazleton Area, Tamaqua Area, Mahanoy Area, Shenandoah Valley, North Schuylkill and Saint Clair Area school districts and Marian Catholic High School and Holy Family Academy.
“We’re offering our 40 meg internet for anybody who doesn’t have it so they can have something to do this e-learning with,” Trently said.
Since schools closed March 16, students and teachers have been trying to keep learning by pointing out resources and sharing lessons online.
In the Hazleton Area School District, many of the 11,515 students lack access to the internet.
When Kenneth Briggs, the district’s director of technology, reached out, Service Electric responded, Hazleton Area Superintendent Brian Uplinger said.
Hazleton Area has provided resources from which students can study online at www.hasdk12.org/Domain/1725.
“Teachers will be available to support students through this process through means available to them and to you,” Uplinger said in a letter to parents and students on March 25, “If you are contacted by a teacher (either via e-mail, phone, or any other mode), please respond.”
Starting this week, Hazleton Area students began reviewing what they learned and using materials that will enrich their education.
For parents of students in special education, Hazleton Area posted a letter on its website explaining how the district will work with them during the pandemic.
“All Special Education students will be offered access to educational opportunities during the ongoing school closure,” the letter said. “Additionally, case managers will contact parents/guardians to discuss any accommodations that may be needed for students to access these opportunities.”
The offerings are optional, not assigned work, and will not be graded.
Also, special education caseworkers will arrange conferences by video link or telephone. Faculty teams will complete individualized education programs, re-evaluations and initial evaluations by current due dates to the extent possible.
Students will return to their existing special education placements when school resumes, the letter said.
In the Weatherly Area School District, where students resumed classwork from home this week, Superintendent Teresa Young said Atlantic Broadband offered internet connections to students for two months during the pandemic.
Young had five Jetpacks that provide internet to homes in her office on Tuesday.
“I am just waiting for new SIM cards to be delivered, which was to be today but because we have no one manning the doors, it makes it hard to get a delivery,” she said in an email on Tuesday. “I am told that the remaining hot spots are being shipped out tomorrow so if everything goes well, we should have all families that needed internet services set up by the end of next week.”
Families taking advantage of Service Electric’s offer will have to hook up their internet, with help from a company technician who will guide them through the process but stay outside the home to avoid spreading the virus.
“We don’t want our installers and tech people going in people’s homes, and customers don’t want us inside,” Trently said.
“It’s a difficult time, and we’re just trying to get everybody through it.”
Even after three decades as a reporter at the Standard-Speaker, Kent Jackson still enjoys meeting people, learning more about the community and sharing stories with readers. He currently covers schools but has reported on local government, health, police and the environment. Regularly, he writes about outdoor sports, wildlife and conservation for the Wildlife page on Sundays. Contact: 570-455-3636; firstname.lastname@example.org