The Digital Divide, Virtual Learning: A COVID Holiday Season
While many students may find virtual learning to be difficult there are some people who have it even harder due to the digital divide. The digital divide is a term used to describe the space between people who have access to the internet and devices that can access the internet and those who do not. Many low-income households do not have access to the internet making it impossible for students to attend class and complete their assignments.
This is the case for many African American families, the latest Census showed that many African
American households rarely or never had a device that could be used to access the internet.
Typically, students without access to the internet would go to libraries or coffee shops to
access the internet and complete their assignments, but the lockdowns and social distancing
mandates have made that impossible for most of this during this pandemic. And there doesn’t
appear to be a real end in sight anytime soon. The increase in COVID-19 cases resulted in
schools closing and moving to virtual learning. This means holding classes via Zoom and other
video conferencing platforms and having homework and other assignments submitted through
websites such as Google Classroom, Blackboard, and email.
As a result, many companies such as Charter Communications/Spectrum and Comcast
relaunched programs offering free internet services to students and internet essential customers.
Both Charter and Comcast launched these programs back in March in repose to the COVID-19
virus and despite our hopes of it being over it is not, and internet services are still needed.
Specifically, Charter is offering Wi-Fi services as well as access to hotspots for 60 days free to
households with new K-12 and college students. On top of these, they are also working with
school districts to help them provide their students with the tools they need to effectively learn
This shift to a virtual world is not only taking place in schools but in everyday life.
COVID-19 has disrupted life pretty dramatically from how we knew it from graduations, proms,
weddings, vacations, and other life events we never thought of being as dramatically different as
they currently are. With the holiday season rolling in many peoples are wondering how and if we
are going to be able to celebrate with family, especially as the number of cases surges once
again. According to the CDC, small household gatherings increase the spread of the COVID-19
virus. As an alternative, the CDC suggests hosting virtual gatherings with family and friends this