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County, Comcast partner to bring WiFi to students

The county will provide internet services for students for six months.

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  • | 11:01 p.m. November 16, 2020
Sarasota County will provide internet services to students in need for six months.
Sarasota County will provide internet services to students in need for six months.
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More students in Sarasota County now have access to high-speed internet thanks to a partnership between Sarasota County and Comcast. 

After Sarasota County Schools announced its concurrent learning model, which allows students to choose between on-campus learning and remote learning, the county began setting aside federal relief funds to help provide WiFi for students in need. 

The county partnered with Comcast as part of its Internet Essentials Partnership Program, which gives schools, nonprofits, healthcare providers and other organizations the chance to sponsor internet services for low-income households for $9.95 a month.

The partnership is designed to ensure all remote learners and students within the classroom have access to educational materials and school resources whether they are at home or in the classroom. 

“As we all continue to adjust to the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted our lives, it’s more important than ever to work together for the betterment of our community,” County Administrator Jonathan Lewis said in a press release. 

The county purchased six months of internet service for eligible Sarasota County households that enroll in the program by Dec. 31. If, after six months, the program needs to be extended, the county will work on another agreement. 

“I am sincerely thankful for all those who have assisted our students and families during this pandemic,” Superintendent Brennan Asplen said in a release. “ … We want every child to be successful, whether they are learning face-to-face or remotely, and appreciate the continued support from our valued community partners.”

Because of COVID-19, Comcast is offering the first two months of internet essentials service for free, provided eligible participants sign up by Dec. 31. Eligible customers also have the option to purchase a low-cost computer and gain access to digital training.