Google will provide thousands of Chromebook laptops and over 100,000 mobile WiFi hotspots throughout California for free for at least three months to help students continue their education remotely amid the pandemic, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.
“Google stepped up in a big way. Google announced today, we’re announcing today, with Google, a partnership (to provide) 100,000 points of access to improve WiFi and broadband capacity… and not only access to the internet, but quality access to the internet, they’re providing minimum three months free of high-quality internet throughout the state of California,” he said.
Newsom added that Google is also making “thousands of Chromebooks” available for students in rural parts of the state who need help getting the tech required for them to learn from home. While Newsom did not specify how many laptops will be provided, Google and Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said the company is providing 4,000.
“Google is proud to be working with Governor Newsom and partners to help bridge the digital divide in our home state,” Pichai said in a statement.
“The right thing to do for our children is to make sure we are preparing today to set our school system up where we are increasing class time but increasing it at home and fulfilling our obligations through distance learning, to make sure we’re educating our kids but not physically,” Newsom said.
Public schools in Los Angeles closed March 16 and are expected to be shuttered until at least May. Other school districts across the state have followed suit, and California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said they are unlikely to open before the end of this academic year.
During the live stream Wednesday, Thurmond said the state Department of Education “will continue to provide support to any district that needs it as it relates to distance learning and support the educational needs of our six million students.”