Robin Sampson, an educator in Wayne County, wrote to the Scranton Times-Tribune on the importance of expanding rural broadband and Congressman Cartwright’s efforts to support rural communities and academic progress amid COVID-19.
Editor: Schools across the country shut down in the spring because of the pandemic.
Rural communities, including families across Wayne County, saw how difficult remote learning was due to the lack of high-speed broadband internet. For many students, learning was impossible.
As a teacher at Wayne Highlands School District, I experienced firsthand the struggles families had accessing instruction in Google Classroom and Zoom meetings. Students missed their friends and teachers and we missed seeing them.
Students wanted to be involved in the Google Classroom activities and the Zoom meetings, but some didn’t have reliable internet. At times, parents drove to their child’s school parking lot to use the Wi-Fi to download class materials or participate in Zoom meetings. Many kids never were able to log on and used paper packets that were mailed home or picked up at the school. They missed out on interaction with their peers and teachers.
Remote learning still will be a reality for many students as schools resume classes and I am wary of our county’s — and nation’s — ability to provide a robust remote education. …
Fortunately, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, of Moosic, is on the House Appropriations Committee and has made rural broadband a priority. He advocates for spending $60 billion for rural broadband development nationwide this year to ensure students have an effective learning environment regardless of their ZIP code.
In November, I will vote to reelect Cartwright because he’ll work to make sure rural parts of Northeast Pennsylvania are not left behind.