Verizon enables distance learning for up to 150,000 South Carolina students

The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) has partnered with Verizon to enable distance learning, for up to 150,000 K-12 students through discounted Internet access for students who have no Internet connectivity at home.

The South Carolina ORS’ disbursement of CARES Act funding for this distance learning initiative, part of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s AccelerateSC plan, is designed to help enable students who don’t have broadband at home to continue their education inside or outside of the classroom through 4G LTE Internet service and devices.

AccelerateSC is a coordinated economic revitalization plan involving small and large business owners, leaders in manufacturing, healthcare professionals, educators, and local government officials. AccelerateSC collaborated with state agencies to develop guidelines for the safe operation of businesses in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and to develop priorities for the responsible investment of CARES Act funding.

“As AccelerateSC began its work, we immediately recognized that one of our most pressing needs was getting Internet access to those families and students who were most dramatically impacted by school closures,” said South Carolina Gov. McMaster. “This partnership with Verizon will result in a stronger education delivery system for students in rural areas and is a great example of what we can do when we have a common goal and a commitment to innovation and collaboration.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an immediate surge in distance learning and has drawn new focus to enabling reliable Internet access for all students. While some school districts were more prepared to shift from onsite to online classrooms, many others are still challenged with securing Internet connectivity, devices and related solutions for distance learning.

“With the 2020-21 school year just around the corner, it’s critical that all students have access to a reliable Internet connection, devices and other solutions they need be able to continue learning this fall — whether from school or home,” said Andrés Irlando, senior vice president and president Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon. “Now up to 150,000 K-12 students across South Carolina will have access to the Internet through this program.”