5 school superintendents in Orleans say high-speed internet critical need for county
As the educational leaders of the five school districts in Orleans County, we implore local and state legislators to continue their efforts to bring reliable, accessible high speed broadband internet to our communities. This is no longer a want but a need for our families.
Since March we witnessed first-hand and heard countless stories of families struggling with remote learning due to poor, unstable, or inaccessible high speed internet. This was not a new concern in our communities, but one that become more pronounced during the pandemic.
As districts, we responded by opening our school Wi-Fi, partnering with local libraries, purchasing mobile hot spot devices, and even placing vans with hotspots in key locations in our communities. While these strategies attempted to fill the gap, there is simply no substitute for reliable high speed internet access in homes and residences. Equity in educational opportunities is also critical. Case in point: paper packets pales in comparison to virtual zoom meetings.
While schools are not internet providers, we want to ensure access to families. In today’s digital age, having high-speed internet access should be considered a necessary utility, just like electricity, gas, and water. However, schools do not have the infrastructure, utility capabilities, nor a budget, that can support providing mobile devices or internet to all families. Furthermore, a mobile device such as a hot spot is not high speed internet nor is it reliable internet access.
The five of us can personally share stories of how our families have been affected by this problem. Just last week, Lyndonville third graders had to suddenly transition to remote learning, and several families immediately voiced concern with their lack of reliable internet.
This problem is real and it is having an impact on our students’ education; similarly, as is the lack of reliable, high-speed internet impacts the growth of businesses in our county.
We thank you for your advocacy thus far, and we ask that you continue with efforts to make high-speed reliable internet a reality for ALL citizens and families in Orleans County. We owe it to our current students, future students and our communities!
Brian Bartalo, Holley Superintendent of Schools
Scott Bischoping, Albion Interim Superintendent of Schools
Julie Christensen, Kendall Superintendent of Schools
Mark Kruzynski, Medina Superintendent of Schools
Jason Smith, Lyndonville Superintendent of Schools