The Kern County Superintendent of Schools announced Monday that Bank of America has provided a $75,000 COVID Relief Grant to help support the purchase of 20,000 Chromebooks and 5,700 WiFi hot spots for local students.

An estimated 40,000 students countywide did not have access to the internet and/or a computer at home when schools physically closed on March 18, according to a news release.

With the help of philanthropic partners such as Bank of America, Valley Strong Credit Union, Bakersfield West Rotary, and others, students now have devices and internet connectivity that will allow them to stay in touch with teachers, curriculum and their peers.

“We were presented the opportunity to look at what online distance learning looks like for public schools, a modality that our partners in higher education have long offered and excelled at,” said Mary C. Barlow, Kern County superintendent of schools. “It’s an exercise that would have happened naturally, but is being accelerated due to our current reality. This tremendous support from Bank of America, along with the other local support we have received, will transform lives.”

Over the past several months, KCSOS, in partnership with school districts, has implemented various strategies to help bridge the gap in technology and has since rolled out robust online learning platforms through Canvas and other education applications.

“Access to education is key to long term economic stability and growth, so it was important for us to help the Kern County Superintendent of Schools overcome some of the barriers that students and educators were facing when the crisis began," said Karen Zuber, Bakersfield market manager for Bank of America.

For information on how to financially support local distance learning efforts, please email superintendent@kern.org.

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(2) comments

scottybob

I wonder if BofA will be kind and refund the 14-20+ percent credit card interest some of the poor working parents among us have had to pay to buy our kid or kids a computer and internet access? Don't guess so.

RubySue

My grandson sent me a video of my great grandson's first day of kindergarten. While i was filled with joy watching him sing and dance while watching his teacher lead him online, it soon hit me that he wouldn't come home from school that day and announce that he had met his new best friend. My heart is still broken over this fact. I still remember my best friends from kindergarten, and that was 59 years ago. These poor kids are being robbed of their childhood.

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