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Editorial: Overdue Wi-Fi for Canal coming just in time

August 12, 2020

Marin Independent Journal editorial by: Marin IJ Editorial Board

From limbo to a lifeline, stretching broadband connection into San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood could become a reality by the start of school.

The timing couldn’t be better.

Many of the neighborhood’s youngsters face, due to the COVID-19 epidemic, opening the school year with a continuation of online courses.

The pandemic has helped underscore another example of inequities facing many residents in our county.

In the Canal, the digital divide is not a new problem.

SAN RAFAEL CA – JULY 24: Workers install an access point on the roof of the Pickleweed Park branch of the San Rafael Public Library in San Rafael, Calif. on Friday, July 24, 2020. Marin IT, a private company is working with the county, city and San Rafael City School officials on the new Canal neighborhood WiFi network that is set to launch in August. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)

Marin Promise and the county library were instrumental in deploying hotspots in the interim.

The Canal Alliance also deserves a lot of credit for making the lagging progress of the initiative a public issue.

The city school district has also helped revive the effort. Most of the students left educationally adrift by the closure of classrooms and the move to online instruction are in district schools.

According to educators, online instruction is no replacement for classroom learning — and they are worried that many students are not keeping up.

For Canal youngsters, many of whom are Latino and still learning English, keeping up is already a challenge.

In addition, as districts struggled with getting teachers equipped and proficient for online instruction, little attention appears to have been given to the number of students who weren’t connected — or connecting.

Read the rest of this article on Marin Independent Journal website.

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