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Attorney General of Virginia

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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING IS URGING THE FCC TO PROVIDE E-RATE FUNDS FOR REMOTE LEARNING DURING THE PANDEMIC

RICHMOND – Attorney General Mark R. Herring today joined a bipartisan coalition of 30 attorneys general in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fund internet connectivity and internet-enabled devices to K-12 students whose schools are closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and who are learning online at home or other locations.

 

“Internet and broadband access has become crucial to Virginians’ daily lives during the COVID pandemic as they have been forced to move school, work, healthcare, and almost everything else online,” said Attorney General Herring. “Our children have been learning remotely for almost a full year now and we should be making it as easy as possible for them and their parents to have access to affordable internet services and devices.”  

 

This month, the FCC asked for comment on petitions urging the commission to temporarily waive some restrictions on its E-Rate program to allow schools to extend their broadband internet networks to students’ homes and to allow E-Rate funds to support Wi-Fi hotspots or other broadband connections for students who lack adequate internet connectivity to participate in remote schooling.

 

In their comment letter to the FCC, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues urge the commission to promptly take action to unlock the doors of the virtual classroom while physical schools remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The E-Rate program provides funding to better connect schools and libraries in all parts of the nation—urban, suburban and rural. Now, all parts of the nation are struggling with the best means to educating K-12 students during the waves of a pandemic.

 

At least 55 million K-12 students in the U.S. have, at one time or another, been forced to rely on online learning when their classrooms were closed. When schools are closed, the living room, bedroom, or basement becomes the classroom and deserves the same E-Rate support.

 

School districts stand ready to use E-Rate funded services to rapidly connect their students to high-speed internet. In a recent survey of more than 2,000 E-Rate program participants, 93% reported that they would use E-Rate funds to connect students at home for virtual schooling, if allowed by the FCC.

 

Attorney General Herring and his colleagues also state in their letter that, given the special circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCC is authorized to amend or waive E-Rate program rules as necessary to provide broadband connectivity for remote schooling.

 

Joining Attorney General Herring in today’s effort are the attorney general of Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.  

 

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