Teacher Appreciation Week comes to an end today, but the hard work of teachers and the efforts of schools across the country to keep kids learning and engaged continues throughout the year. Cable providers know this more than anyone, especially after witnessing firsthand for more than two years the challenges that many school districts have faced from school-wide closures and lengthy student absences related to the COVID pandemic.
When the pandemic first caused school shutdowns nationwide in spring of 2020, cable providers set out to partner with school districts within their footprints to help get as many students connected to the internet as possible. While the cable industry has run broadband adoption programs for over a decade—and connected more than 14 million people through its discounted internet services—many student-aged families still lacked a broadband connection in their home at the start of the pandemic.
Together with schools, local governments and businesses, community organizations, and philanthropists, cable providers did their part to help identify those students without broadband and to get them set up with internet service as quickly as possible. These success stories gave hope during dark times, including Cox's participation in getting 100% of students connected in Nevada, Comcast's Lift Zones initiative to provide Wi-Fi hot spots in Boys & Girls Clubs across America, Charter's Stay Connected K-12 program, and Mediacom's school partnerships to connect students in Iowa.
With model examples throughout the cable industry, cable providers also signed on to NCTA and EducationSuperHighway's K-12 Bridge to Broadband initiative, which offered a blueprint and best practices for K-12 school districts to implement in their remote learning plans.
And while in-person learning is now very much the norm once again, there is no doubt that the pandemic has changed classroom learning forever. Cable providers continue to partner with schools and to expand their broadband adoption programs to help afford every student the opportunity to get online at home.
A broadband connection has never been more important for student families. Whether it's to complete a homework assignment, conduct research, connect with peers or teachers outside of school hours, or to attend school virtually due to quarantines, illnesses, or any other reason, hybrid learning will be a part of a student's future moving forward. Teachers and schools play a huge role in helping students on the road to success, and cable providers will continue to support them in every way they can.