In Cooper’s school district, for instance, there are some areas that internet providers haven’t hooked up, and others where getting internet would be too expensive for students’ families. “You pay $200, $300, and your internet’s still horrible,” she said.
Even in normal times, this digital divide holds back the unconnected in innumerable ways. Broadband access tends to boost local economies, because many companies run on the internet and employers tend to take job applications only online. Many areas that lack internet also lack doctors, but telemedicine can’t reach places where few people have a connection strong enough for FaceTime. People without internet might have trouble accessing news and information, which has steadily migrated online. In areas where broadband exists, but not everyone can afford it, teachers still assign homework online, and only some students can complete it.
A lack of