Rural Broadband Act of 2020 Positively Impacts Caroline Students

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June 2, 2020 – The Rural Broadband for the Eastern Shore Act of 2020, passed by the Maryland General Assembly and subsequently signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan , allows Choptank Electric Cooperative to provide affordable internet access to rural areas. During the 2020 Maryland legislative session, Dr. Patty Saelens and Board Member Tolbert Rowe, along with other Eastern Shore school system leadership, testified before lawmakers in support of the bill.

The “digital divide” is defined as the gap between those who have ready access to computers and the internet and those who do not. Since the closure of schools in mid-March, the lack of internet access that many households experience has been brought into sharper focus. Students without reliable internet access have had to take advantage of learning opportunities through paper packets of materials provided by the schools. Caroline County Public School employees lacking broadband access have been at a great disadvantage when trying to teach and work from home.

Dr. Saelens stated, “We look forward to the day when ALL students, no matter the physical location of their home or their family’s financial circumstances, benefit from a level playing field through reliable and high speed access to the internet.”