But now, the city says some kids might not get steady internet until next summer.
“The children that want to go to school, that want to learn, that want to get an education — they can’t do it, because the Wi-Fi keeps going off and on,” ninth grader Aaron Morris told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
Morris lives in a homeless shelter with his father in Brooklyn. He has a city-issued laptop for remote learning, but has to use his dad’s hotspot for internet access.
“It works for a little while, until my data slows down,” his father, O’Brien Morris, said.
“I can be in class, and it disconnects me from my class. Or I can be doing my classwork, and then it says ‘connection failed’ and it doesn’t allow me to do my classwork,” Aaron added.
CBS2 has highlighted some of the more than 13,000 school children in city shelters and their struggles with Wi-Fi since schools went remote in the spring.
This week, the mayor handed out Halloween candy to kids in shelters. When asked how they’re expected to log onto class, he replied, “We are going to rewire all of the shelters that have kids in them.”
However, the city’s Department of Information Technology told CBS2, “the aggressive goal is to have all sites Wi-Fi enabled this summer.”
“It appears that the city has written off the school year for kids who are in shelter,” Legal Aid Society staff attorney Josh Goldfein.
Goldfein added the city should have started this months ago.
“What they need to do is a comprehensive survey of all of the locations and figure out who are the kids having trouble connecting and make it happen for them,” he said.
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In the meantime, the city says it will swap carrier services for kids with connection issues.
“If they have a device and they need a different internet service, we’ll simply provide that to them or make sure that’s free for them,” de Blasio said.
Bauman asked Morris what he would want the mayor and city services to know about what he’s going through.
“I want to tell them that it’s very hard for me growing up, trying to get my education, because I have no Wi-Fi at home, and you guys tell me that they’re going to install it, and it’s not happening so far,” he replied.
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The city also said it has an IT help desk for students in shelters to address connectivity issues. Families still struggling to log on should call 311.
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