COVID-19 Prompts School Closures, Emphasizes Broadband Inadequacies

(IARN) — Many educational institutions have cancelled in-person classes for a period of time, amid growing public health concerns. Students must complete coursework online, which could incite problems for those in rural communities.

RJ Karney, American Farm Bureau Federation congressional relations director, says rural communities do not have the technology to support a students’ coursework.

“We’re seeing more schools begin to shutter their doors, relying on internet access to continue to teach students,” Karney said. “For rural students who do not have access, these are severe limitations for them to continue their education. Farm Bureau remains focused on working with members of Congress and this Administration to achieve the needs of rural America, when it comes to broadband deployment.”

“Broadband is no longer a luxury,” states Karney. Rather, “it’s a necessity for farmers, ranchers and rural communities.”

“Rural Americans rely on broadband for distance learning, for telemedicine,” Karney said. “We’ve seen a drastic decline in primary care physicians throughout rural America, so the high-speed connection broadband provides is a quality of life standard for rural America.”

Karney says members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate recently passed a bill to better direct funds to improve rural broadband.

“The Senate earlier this week passed the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act,” Karney said. “This bill would improve the accuracy of broadband coverage maps and better direct federal funds for broadband buildout by creating more granular, transparent accountability within broadband access maps.”

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

Photo from the KIWA Image Archives.



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