In 2021, Kajeet named 85 winners of the grant, a record number, says Michael Flood, the company’s senior vice president of education and general manager. “During the pandemic, pretty much every school district was compelled to address this issue, because it was no longer just about homework. It was about normal school day learning that had to be done remotely,” he says.
Kajeet offers grant winners solutions to help students get online from beyond the school building, something that will continue to be necessary through 2022 and in future school years.
“The risk that we’re facing right now is that, as we exit the pandemic, we need schools to remember that this is a problem that existed before the pandemic, and it disproportionately impacts certain groups of students,” Flood says. “We found ways during the pandemic to connect all students, and we need to make sure we are keeping those students connected.”
Former Grant Winners Continue Using Hotspots
When Technology Director Sondra Ayscue received hotspots in October 2018 as a Kajeet grant winner, the devices were used as a trial run for the students in North Carolina’s Franklin County Schools.
“With the homework grant, Kajeet had actually added UScellular service, which is better for us in our rural areas,” Ayscue says. “When I applied, we requested the UScellular, and they worked. I only had ten, but we sent those ten out as test cases to our middle school students, because they were the ones taking home Chromebooks at that time, and our high school students.”
Now, Franklin County Schools has 2,200 hotspots to keep its students connected at home and in other locations outside the classroom. “They’re not all deployed, but we’re deploying a few every day, still trying to get through remote learning for some of our students.”
Dupo School District, a grant-winning K–12 district in Illinois that also received its hotspots prior to the pandemic, found the technology to be a beneficial solution for remote learning and homework.