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Thousands of families continue facing connectivity issues, according to county superintendent

Posted at 7:17 AM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 10:17:11-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - In the age of COVID-19, school districts are finding themselves working against many issues, one of them being the lack of connectivity some have.

This holds true for several school districts within Pima County, one of them being the Altar Valley Elementary School District.

There are two schools within the Altar Valley Elementary School District, one is Robles Elementary, the other Altar Valley Middle School.

Roughly 560 students typically attend the two schools in person, but this semester, they're all starting off with remote learning.

While remote learning has been difficult in of itself, many students within the district have had to overcome those connectivity issues.

“One of the challenges of being rural is the internet that’s out here, we do have families who do not have reliable internet," said Dave Dumon, the superintendent for the Altar Valley Elementary School District.

Superintendent Dumon said some families within the school district simply can't afford internet services, while others don't have access because of where they live.

“We’re actually still in the process of getting out tablets because we’re realizing some families who thought they had reliable internet, don’t," he said.

To help students overcome this problem and get to learning, Superintendent Dumon said the district gave out roughly 520 tablets, 140 with hotspots built in.

Pima County Superintendent Dustin Williams said this problem is happening across the county.

“We’ve identified somewhere around 13,000 families that don’t have connectivity," he said.

Superintendent Williams said his office continues working on finding solutions to help those in need.

“They literally can bring in these things called mobile cell phone towers, drive in these huge portable towers that reach out miles and miles so that students have an opportunity for learning," he said.