Morning Report: More Than 20K Students Still Lack Broadband Access

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Morning Report: More Than 20K Students Still Lack Broadband Access

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Illustration by Adriana Heldiz

Many parents, teachers and other stakeholders see a return to in-person, full-time schooling as a major victory.

But it could have an unfortunate intended consequence, as Kayla Jimenez reports in a new story: The pandemic finally forced officials to grapple with the digital divide, and now those efforts to connect low-income families with broadband internet might be waning

Meanwhile, 22,000 students still aren’t connected or are under-connected, and most of them live in the southern and remote rural areas of the county, according to a survey conducted by the San Diego County Office of Education. 

“Every year the federal, state and local governments don’t invest in getting people connected, it gets more expensive and the achievement gap facing low-income students gets wider,” one Oceanside resident who’s advocating for more resources told Jimenez.

New federal programs aimed at helping families afford broadband are only temporary, and are set to expire when officials declare the pandemic over. “When it ends, families will again have to front the bill for internet access at home or school districts will have to pick up the tab,” Jimenez writes.

CSUSM Officials Defend Decision Not to Fire Professor

Top officials at California State University San Marcos are defending their decision to allow a professor to continue teaching after they’d originally moved to fire him for harassing multiple students. As Kayla Jimenez reported last week, university officials reversed course once Chetan Kumar’s union filed an appeal in the case.

Now, Kumar’s colleagues are speaking out against the university, and university officials are trying to tamp down outrage. A petition attributed to the university’s business school community condemns the decision to allow Kumar to continue teaching, and urges officials to fire him. The school’s president, in an email sent Friday afternoon, assured students the decision was “difficult and heartbreaking dilemma for everyone involved” and insisted that it was not made for financial reasons, despite language in the settlement agreement that says it’s being entered into to avoid “the expense, inconvenience and uncertainty of continued proceedings.” “Neither time nor money is ever a factor in decisions related to sexual assault and/or harassment,” the school’s president and provost wrote.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Scott Lewis.

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