To Increase Internet Connectivity for Ohio’s Schools
The Management Council and Ohio’s Information Technology Centers (ITCs) are pleased to partner with the Governor’s Office, the Ohio Department of Education, the Department of Administrative Services, BroadbandOhio, and InnovateOhio to increase connectivity and devices to Ohio’s schools and students.
Lt. Gov Jon Husted’s office announced a Request for Information (RFI) to explore the options for increasing broadband to residents so that students who are without Internet can successfully learn remotely. The RFI is issued to internet providers for everything including devices and hotspots.
In addition to the RFI, Lt. Gov. Husted also announced plans for a dollar to dollar matching $50M grant, pending approval from the Controlling Board. Funds will be facilitated through the federal CARES Act. Schools can apply for the grant to help alleviate costs associated with hotspots, in-home internet, and devices for students.
“We are delighted to be partners in forming and fulfilling this initiative. It is imperative that every Ohioan have reliable, highspeed connectivity,” stated Geoffrey Andrews, Management Council Chief Executive Officer. “The volume procurement and the $50M matching funds will make a difference for every learner, teacher, and leader in Ohio’s schools, creating unprecedented remote learning opportunities, especially for economically disadvantaged and rural students. Equally important, it lays the groundwork for every Ohioan to participate and compete in the 21st century economy. I applaud all of the schools, ITCs, public leaders, and business partners for embracing the unique challenge presented by this virus. Furthermore, when we ultimately come out of the other side, this connectivity will become so fundamental to how we conduct our affairs that we will find schooling and working in Ohio dramatically more robust.”
Coordinated by the Management Council, ITCs will engage and work closely with “connectivity champions” who will advocate for and optimize connectivity and device access for students and schools. The champions’ objective is to enable schools to most effectively engage in remote teaching and learning. ITCs have been providing connectivity and technology support to Ohio school districts for decades.
Ohio’s ITCs work together as a statewide network called the Ohio Education Computer Network (OECN). The Management Council coordinates and supports the collaborative efforts of the OECN, which implements a broad spectrum of academic and administrative technologies across Ohio’s PreK-12 education system.