Survey: 10,000 Tacoma Public Schools students don't have access to home computer, WiFi

The Foundation for Tacoma Students is stepping up to help meet the need of thousands of students who don’t have a computer or WiFi access ahead of the fall semester. 

A survey conducted by Tacoma Public Schools in April found that roughly 10,000 students don’t have internet or computer access for remote learning.

The Foundation for Tacoma Students is teaming up with Rainier Connect to provide free WiFi for families, and they’ve also teamed up with Microsoft to provide laptop devices for students. 

So far the foundation has distributed 627 laptops and helped connect 254 households to WiFi. However, the Foundation for Tacoma Students says this is far from the full extent of students in need of technology support. 

“We’ve barely scratched the surface,” said Tafona Ervin, executive director of the Foundation for Tacoma Students. 

“As we go into the next academic year, which will likely be a hybrid of sorts with both in person and online learning, we know it will be critical for us to support children and families with adequate WiFi and technology to be their best selves.”  

Ervin says with schools across the country all working to get devices for students, they’re grappling with back orders to receive devices.

This summer, about 4,000 slots for summer programs will now be canceled because of Covid-19, the nonprofit says. 

They’ve created a website where families can search for resources and activities for their students to take part in this summer.

The foundation is also accepting donations and looking for advocates in the community to help meet the needs of students with laptops and WiFi resources. For more information, click here